totter (v.) c.1200, "swing to and fro," perhaps from a Scandinavian source (Cf. dialectal Norw. totra "to quiver, shake"). Meaning "stand or walk with shaky, unsteady steps" is from c.1600. Related: Tottered; tottering.

Etymology dictionary. 2014.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • Totter — Tot ter, v. i. [imp. & p. p. {Tottered}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Tottering}.] [Probably for older tolter; cf. AS. tealtrian to totter, vacillate. Cf.{Tilt} to incline, {Toddle}, {Tottle}, {Totty}.] 1. To shake so as to threaten a fall; to vacillate; to… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • totter — index vacillate Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • totter — 1 *shake, tremble, quake, quaver, quiver, shiver, shudder, wobble, teeter, shimmy, dither Analogous words: rock, agitate, *shake, convulse: sway, *swing, fluctuate, oscillate, waver 2 *reel, stagger, whirl Analogous words: * …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • totter — [v] move falteringly blunder, careen, dodder, falter, flounder, hesitate, lurch, quake, quiver, reel, rock, roll, seesaw, shake, shimmy, slide, slip, stagger, stammer, stumble, sway, teeter, topple, tremble, trip, walk unsteadily, waver, weave,… …   New thesaurus

  • totter — ► VERB 1) move in an unsteady way. 2) shake or rock as if about to collapse. 3) be insecure or on the point of failure. ► NOUN ▪ a tottering gait. DERIVATIVES tottery adjective. ORIGIN …   English terms dictionary

  • totter — [tät′ər] vi. [ME toteren, prob. < Scand, as in Norw dial. totra, to quiver, shake] 1. a) to rock or shake as if about to fall; be unsteady b) to be on the point of failure or collapse 2. to be unsteady on one s feet; stagger n. an unsteady… …   English World dictionary

  • totter — Synonyms and related words: age, alternate, amble, back and fill, barge, blunder, bowl along, break down, bundle, capsize, careen, career, cave in, change, cheat the undertaker, claudicate, clump, collapse, come a cropper, cower, crawl, creep,… …   Moby Thesaurus

  • totter — UK [ˈtɒtə(r)] / US [ˈtɑtər] verb [intransitive] Word forms totter : present tense I/you/we/they totter he/she/it totters present participle tottering past tense tottered past participle tottered 1) to stand or move in a way that is not steady… …   English dictionary

  • totter — totterer, n. /tot euhr/, v.i. 1. to walk or go with faltering steps, as if from extreme weakness. 2. to sway or rock on the base or ground, as if about to fall: The tower seemed to totter in the wind. The government was tottering. 3. to shake or… …   Universalium

  • totter — 1. noun /ˈtɒtə,ˈtɑːtɚ/ a) an unsteady movement or gait b) A rag and bone man. 2. verb /ˈtɒtə,ˈtɑːtɚ/ a) To walk,move or …   Wiktionary

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