from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A long plank balanced on a central fulcrum so that with a person riding on each end, one end goes up as the other goes down. Also called regionally dandle, dandle board, teedle board, teeter, teeterboard, teeter-totter, tilt1, tilting board. See Regional Note at teeter-totter.
  • n. The act or game of riding a seesaw.
  • n. A back-and-forth or up-and-down movement, as of the lead between two contesting parties.
  • intransitive v. To play on a seesaw.
  • intransitive v. To move back and forth or up and down.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A structure composed of a plank, balanced in the middle, used as a game in which one person goes up as the other goes down; a teeter-totter
  • n. a series of up-and-down movements.
  • n. a series of alternating movements or feelings
  • v. To use a seesaw.
  • v. To fluctuate
  • adj. fluctuating.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Moving up and down, or to and fro; having a reciprocating motion.
  • n. A play among children in which they are seated upon the opposite ends of a plank which is balanced in the middle, and move alternately up and down.
  • n. A plank or board adjusted for this play.
  • n. A vibratory or reciprocating motion.
  • n. Same as Crossruff.
  • intransitive v. To move with a reciprocating motion; to move backward and forward, or upward and downward.
  • transitive v. To cause to move backward and forward in seesaw fashion.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A sport in which two children sit one at each end of a board or long piece of timber balanced on some support, and move alternately up and down.
  • n. A board adjusted for this sport.
  • n. Any process resembling directly or indirectly the reciprocating motion of the see-saw.
  • n. Especially
  • n. A circular definition or proof; the definition of a word or thing by means of another which is itself defined by means of the first; the proof of a proposition by means of a premise which is itself proved from the first proposition as a premise.
  • n. In whist, the playing of two partners so that each alternately trumps a low non-trump card led by the other; a double ruff; a cross-ruff.
  • Reciprocating; reciprocal; back and forth, or up and down: as, a see-saw motion.
  • To move as in the see-saw; move backward and forward, or upward and downward; teeter: literally or figuratively.
  • To cause to move or act in a see-saw manner.
  • n. A motion of a steam-engine governor which oscillates on both sides of its mean or neutral position and causes the speed of rotation of the engine to vary above and below the mean.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. move up and down as if on a seesaw
  • v. move unsteadily, with a rocking motion
  • n. a plaything consisting of a board balanced on a fulcrum; the board is ridden up and down by children at either end
  • v. ride on a plank


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Reduplication of saw1.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Probably a frequentative imitative of rhythmic back-and-forth, up-and-down or zigzaging motion, such as teeter-totter, zigzag, flip-flop, ping-pong, etc., under the umbrella term of reduplication; also likely influenced by the verbs see and saw of either present or past tense.


  • It relies on what they term "seesaw" logic gates, which we've diagrammed below.

    Wired Top Stories

  • It's what I call the "seesaw of pain" - somebody's always getting hurt. - Top Stories

  • And the polls are about as steady as a seesaw, which is to say that if you pay too close attention, you could get motion sickness.

    CNN Transcript Oct 18, 2004

  • JEFF KOINANGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson I can tell you it's being described as a seesaw battle for Monrovia on this fifth day of heavy fighting.

    CNN Transcript Jul 23, 2003

  • The year 2009 could be described as a seesaw year for the newly formed English Defence League.

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  • 'A pretty so-called seesaw of checks finishes the game ... '

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  • In what is best described as a seesaw evening, the Crew finished down on the ground, losing the second game of the series to the Mets, 6-5, in 10 innings.


  • The groups modern research techniques, which aren't based on unreliable computer models used by non-global warming denying scientists, came up with this conclusion: After the end of the last Glacial both Hemispheres became warmer as a result of melting ice sheets, but during the last 9000 years we can identify a persistent "seesaw" pattern.

    Archive 2007-05-01

  • There is a kind of seesaw effect at work here, where the weight of presidential power and prestige, combined with Democratic cowardice, has kept one side firmly planted on the ground, while critics of Bush crimes and constitutional abuses have remained stranded up in the air.

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  • Explanations for unusually small masses, like those that neutrinos seem to have, aren’t easy to come by, but one popular and seemingly natural way to achieve them in the so-called seesaw mechanism.

    Matter v Antimatter III: Leptogenesis


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