tightrope

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walk a tightrope

To do something that requires extreme care and precision; to navigate a situation that allows very little or no error. Since there's been talk of layoffs, I've been walking a tightrope at work to prove how valuable I am.
See also: tightrope, walk

be walking a tightrope

To be doing something very carefully. Since there's been talk of layoffs, I've been walking a tightrope at work to prove how valuable I am.
See also: tightrope, walking

walk a tightrope

Fig. to be in a situation where one must be very cautious. I've been walking a tightrope all day. I need to relax. Our business is about to fail. We've been walking a tightrope for three months.
See also: tightrope, walk

walk a tightrope

Also, be on a tightrope. Take or be on a very precarious course, as in A university press must walk a tightrope to publish scholarly books and still make money , or The general was on a tightrope as to whether he should advance or retreat. This idiom transfers the balancing act performed by tightrope or high-wire acrobats to other concerns. [First half of 1900s]
See also: tightrope, walk

be walking a tightrope

COMMON If someone is walking a tightrope, they are in a difficult situation where a small mistake could cause failure, especially because they are trying to deal with two opposing things or groups of people. He is walking a tightrope between the young activists and the more traditional members within the democracy movement. He knows he is walking a tightrope on just how big his company can grow before the public turns against it. Note: You can call someone's attempt to deal with this type of situation a tightrope walk. The strategy is something of a tightrope walk.
See also: tightrope, walking

tread/walk a ˈtightrope

,

be on a ˈtightrope

be in a situation where you must act very carefully: I’m walking a tightrope at the moment; one more mistake and I might lose my job.
A tightrope is a rope high up in the air that an acrobat walks along at a circus.
See also: tightrope, tread, walk
References in periodicals archive ?
He said only one tightrope walker, Stephen Peer, fell to his death, and it happened on a late-night dare.
Popular tightrope walkers like the Great Blondin and William Leonard Hunt crossed Niagara Gorge on bicycles, blindfolded, carrying washing machines and even cooking omelets.
Friday night along the two-inch-wide, 13,300-pound rope in an attempt to become the first person ever to walk across Niagara Falls on a tightrope.
A"TIGHTROPE" surgically implanted into his ankle has allowed Gavin Henson to bounce back from injury.
"By inserting what is known as a 'plate tightrope', we were able to stabilise the ankle joint and Robin made a full recovery.
ON THE BALL: Ospreys and Wales player Gavin Henson in action after his operation; LINK-UP: The 'tightrope' implant which was used on Gavin Henson's ankle; TRIED AND TESTED: Cardiff Blues' Robin Sowden-Taylor had 'tightrope' surgery
David Dimitri, a tightrope specialist with an engaging grin and a frosted Jean-Paul Gaultier buzz cut, is the main attraction.
I thought it was the first time I witnessed a Black person walking the tightrope, until my genetic memory reminded me of the many times Black folks have had to, and will continue to, walk the tightrope.
The late, great James Baldwin was one of our better tightrope walkers.