also seesaw, 1630s, in see-saw-sacke a downe (like a Sawyer), words in a rhythmic jingle used by children and repetitive motion workers, probably imitative of the rhythmic back-and-forth motion of sawyers working a two-man saw over wood or stone (see saw (n.1). Ha ha.).
In reference to a game of going up and down on a balanced plank, it is recorded from 1704; figurative sense is from 1714. Applied from 1824 to the plank arranged for the game. Also compare teeter-totter under teeter (v.).
also seesaw, "move up and down," 1712, from see-saw (n.). Related: See-sawed; see-sawing.