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Related to tightroping: 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