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What's the difference between "fluctuate" and "teeter"?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

Fluctuate = vary with time. Think graph, chart.

Teeter: (1) go back and forth (between the same two things/values). Think teeter-totter. (2) be on the verge of something - the current little wiggles/variations are likely to soon change into a huge plummet. Think cartoon character balanced on the edge of the cliff.

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Thank You Martha for clear explanations – brilliant Nov 25 '10 at 11:46
Also, "fluctuate" is more formal than "teeter". And to my British ears, "teeter" seems more American. Apart from the phrase "teetering on the brink", I would normally say "wobble" rather than "teeter". – Colin Fine Nov 25 '10 at 11:48
Maybe. But I just wouldn't say "teeter". – Colin Fine Nov 26 '10 at 15:38

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