1. Stepping very softly and quietly, especially using only or mostly the frontmost part of one's feet. We had to walk on tiptoes so that my parents didn't hear us leaving the house. Because the film had already begun, I entered the movie theater on tiptoe so as not to disturb anyone around me.
2. Standing on the frontmost part of one's feet to raise one up by a couple of inches. Joe had to stand up on tiptoe to see over the crowd of people. She stood on tiptoes to reach the light switch on the wall.
See also: on
standing or walking on the front part of the feet (the balls of the feet) with no weight put on the heels. (This is done to gain height or to walk quietly.) I had to stand on tiptoe in order to see over the fence. I came in late and walked on tiptoe so I wouldn't wake anybody up.
1. Eagerly anticipating something, as in The children were on tiptoe before the birthday party. [Late 1500s]
2. Moving stealthily, warily, as in They went down the hall on tiptoe. [Mid-1700s] Both usages transfer standing on one's toes to a particular reason for doing so; def. 2 alludes to moving more quietly in this fashion.
on ˈtiptoe/ˈtiptoesstanding or walking on the front part of your foot, with your heels off the ground, in order to make yourself taller or to move very quietly or lightly: She had to stand on tiptoe to reach the top shelf. ♢ We crept around on tiptoes so as not to disturb him.
Full of anticipation; eager: The children were on tiptoe before the birthday party.