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atiptoe definition


This page has 7 definitions of atiptoe in English. Atiptoe is an adverb and adjective. Also define these 0 related words and terms: .

See also: a-tiptoe



A ballet dancer atiptoe (adjective sense), or dancing en pointe.

From a- (prefix meaning ‘at; in; on’, used to show a condition, manner, or state) +‎ tiptoe.[1]



atiptoe (not comparable)

  1. On tiptoe; on the tips of one's toes in order to move quietly or to stand taller.
    Synonyms: (ballet) en pointe, (rare) tiptoeingly
    • 1657, Plutarch, “Of the Romans Fortune”, in Philemon Holland, transl., The Philosophy, Commonly Called, The Morals [], revised edition, London: [] S[arah] G[riffin] for J. Kirton, [], OCLC 461699612, page 517:
      [T]he gate of going of Fortune ſeems quick and faſt, her ſpirit great, and courage proud, her hopes high and haughty: ſhe over-goeth Vertue, and approacheth neer at hand already; not mounting and lifting up her ſelfe now with her light and flight wings, not ſtanding a tiptoe upon a round ball or boule commeth ſhe wavering and doubtful; and then goeth her way afterwards in diſcontentment and diſpleasure: []
    • 1695, [Jakob Abbadie], “Of the Two Last Characters of Pride, which are Ambition and Contempt of Ones Neighbour”, in [anonymous], transl., The Art of Knowing Ones Self: Or, A Diligent Search into the Springs of Morality. The Second Part. [], London: [] E. J. for R. Bentley, [], OCLC 43077427, page 194:
      We content not our ſelves with ſtanding a tiptoe for to appear greater than others; we ſtrive ſtill either to make them fall, or for to abaſe them for to appear greater by their abaſement.
    • 1713, William King, The Northern Atalantis: Or, York Spy. [], 2nd edition, London: [] A. Baldwin [], OCLC 1098519638, page 28:
      [W]hilſt we were drinking a Glaſs of Wine, in came four of the Gang with their Hats ſtanding a Tiptoe on their Heads, and cock'd up, as if the Brims were Nail'd to the Crowns, with a whole Smith's Shop about their Swords, and a Tanners Warehouſe about their middle.
    • 1751, [Tobias] Smollett, “The Memoirs of a Lady of Quality”, in The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle [], volume III, London: Harrison and Co., [], published 1781, OCLC 316121541, page 260, column 1:
      When I rallied him for viſiting me in ſuch a diſhabille, he ſtood a tiptoe to view himſelf in the glaſs; and owning I was in the right, ſaid that he would go and dreſs himſelf before dinner.
    • 1822, [Walter Scott], chapter VI, in Peveril of the Peak. [], volume IV, Edinburgh: [] Archibald Constable and Co.; London: Hurst, Robinson, and Co., OCLC 2392685, page 122:
      Our impatient friend scrambled, with some difficulty, on the top of the bench intended for his seat; and there, "paining himself to stand a-tiptoe," like [Geoffrey] Chaucer's gallant Sir Chaunticlere, he challenged the notice of the audience as he stood bowing and claiming acquaintance of his namesake, Sir Geoffrey the larger, with whose shoulders, notwithstanding his elevated situation, he was scarcely yet upon a level.
    • 1859, Charles Dickens, “A Sight”, in A Tale of Two Cities, London: Chapman and Hall, [], OCLC 906152507, book II (The Golden Thread), page 40:
      [P]eople on the floor of the court, laid their hands on the shoulders of the people before them, to help themselves, at anybody's cost, to a view of him—stood a-tiptoe, got upon ledges, stood upon next to nothing, to see every inch of him.
    • 1868, George Eliot [pseudonym; Mary Ann Evans], “Book III”, in The Spanish Gypsy: A Poem, Edinburgh; London: William Blackwood and Sons, OCLC 3384101, page 224:
      Moving a-tiptoe, silent as the elves, / As mischievous too, trip three bare-footed girls / Not yet opened to womanhood— []
    • 1871 September 1, Robert Lord Lytton, “The Thistle”, in Fables in Song, volume I, Edinburgh; London: William Blackwood and Sons, published 1874, OCLC 11400948, prelude, page 15:
      The timorous cowslips, one by one, / Trembling, chilly, atiptoe stand / On little hillocks and knolls alone; []
  2. (figuratively)
    1. Quietly, and little by little.
    2. Without retreating from adversity, confrontation, or danger; standing tall; bravely, proudly, unyieldingly.
    3. In a state of anticipation; keenly awaiting.

Alternative forms



atiptoe (not comparable)

  1. On tiptoe; moving or standing on the tips of one's toes.
    Synonyms: tiptoe, tiptoeing
  2. (figuratively) In a state of anticipation; keenly awaiting.
    • 1605, The First Part of Ieronimo. [][1], London: [] Thomas Pauyer, [], OCLC 1203210260:
      O could I meete andrea, now my blouds a tiptoe. / This hand and ſword ſhould melt him: / Valliant Don Pedro.
    • 1753, “FASHION”, in The Dictionary of Love. [], London: [] R[alph] Griffiths, [], OCLC 778161115:
      The Counteſs of Light-airs has taken an unaccountable fancy to ſome coxcomb as worthleſs as herſelf. This is ſpread about, and the curioſity of all the coquettes is a tiptoe, to know whether a woman, who paſſes for a knowing one, is in the right to have made ſuch a choice.
    • 1779, [John Moore], “Letter LIX”, in A View of Society and Manners in France, Switzerland, and Germany: With Anecdotes Relating to Some Eminent Characters. [], volume II, London: [] W[illiam] Strahan; and T[homas] Cadell, [], OCLC 960879024, pages 93–94:
      [] I once ſaw a corpulent general-officer ſtart ſuddenly, as if he had ſeen ſomething preternatural. [] While all the ſpectators were a tiptoe to obſerve the iſſue of this phenomenon, he arrived at the ranks, and in great wrath, which probably had been augmented by the heat acquired in his courſe, he pulled off one of the ſoldier's hats, which it ſeems had not been properly cocked, and adjuſted it to his mind.

Alternative forms



  1. ^ a-tiptoe, adv.”, in OED Online , Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, March 2021.

Further reading