from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. precarious, delicate, dangerous, risky, sensitive or of uncertain outcome.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. a phrase descriptive of a narrow escape.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Of uncertain action or outcome; that may explode, go off, or come to a head on the least touch or provocation; hence, ticklish; uncertain; applied to persons, circumstances, or actions.
  • Hasty and superficial; desultory.
  • n. An uncertain or precarious state of affairs as regards the happening or not happening of something.

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

  • adj. fraught with danger


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • Wonderful scenery with sweeping descents and a few climbs, but touch and go whether we'd make it.

    Journal for 17 May

  • ‘Although I must admit it was touch and go there for a moment,’ he added slyly, and Nora gave a little yelp as she mistimed her step off the moving pad, hooking her heel on the metal rim and lurching drunkenly against him.

    Mistress for a Weekend

  • The 3rd Lights were riding in among the Sikh guns and infantry, but when Paddy launched a frontal infantry assault they ran into a great storm of grape, and it was touch and go for a while, for when they reached the jungle the Sikh guns were still doing great execution, and there was horrid scrimmaging among the trees.

    Flashman and the Mountain of Light


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  • = a precarious situation

    July 25, 2008

  • In nautical terms, the phrase originally described a situation in which the ship touched bottom but was not grounded.

    February 6, 2008