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What is the etymology of the word teeter totter?

What's the difference between "teeter totter" and "seesaw"? is it like they are totally interchangeable?

  • @brilliant: I'm surprised you didn't realise this question had been asked before. Even if you forgot to search ELU before asking it again, I'd have thought the system would have automatically listed it above your question text as you were writing. If I start writing a question which includes the words teeter totter seesaw in either title or text, the earlier one (followed now by yours!) is top of the "possible duplicates" display. – FumbleFingers Aug 21 '12 at 12:38
  • @FumbleFingers - Yes, I I didn't notice it. – brilliant Aug 21 '12 at 13:19
  • @brilliant: I must admit I'd never come across the American teeter totter = seesaw before. When I first read your question I thought you were asking about the difference between the three verbs teeter, totter, seesaw, all of which mean *sway unsteadily to me. – FumbleFingers Aug 21 '12 at 13:24
  • Upvote. More questions that were asked before and less of those who always complain and mark questions as duplicates – Green Jan 25 '18 at 18:19

According to wikipedia, they are interchangeable:

A see saw (also known as a teeter-totter or teeter board) is a long, narrow board pivoted in the middle so that, as one end goes up, the other goes down.

Although, I should add that we British don't tend to use the word teeter-totter at all.

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  • 1
    You're right. It's not used in the UK. I hadn't heard of it, until I saw the question here. Is it an example of American English? – Tristan Aug 21 '12 at 13:57
  • I had the belief that "seesaw" can also refer to a kind of two-seated swing (two seats opposing each other, hung from the middle with a pair of rigid bar that keeps it horizontal), and that teeter-totter cannot, but apparently either word can refer to this as well. – Random832 Aug 21 '12 at 14:01

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