taut

adjective
\ ˈtȯt How to pronounce taut (audio) \

Definition of taut

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : having no give or slack : tightly drawn a taut rope
b : high-strung, tense taut nerves
2a : kept in proper order or condition a taut ship
b(1) : not loose or flabby taut skin
(2) : marked by economy of structure and detail a taut story

taut

verb
tauted; tauting; tauts

Definition of taut (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

Scotland
: mat, tangle
variants: or tauto-

Definition of taut- (Entry 3 of 3)

: same tautomerism tautonym

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Other Words from taut

Adjective

tautly adverb
tautness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for taut

Synonyms: Adjective

rigid, tense, tight

Antonyms: Adjective

lax, loose, slack

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Taunt vs. Taut

Taunt and taut may easily be confused. The words are similar in spelling and pronunciation, though the resemblance does not extent to their syntax or meanings. Taut is an adjective that is most often used to refer to something that is pulled tight, like "a taut rope," or is bulging or filled to capacity, like "taut muscles." Taunt is a noun and a verb that refers to teasing or making fun of a person. That the two words sound similar creates confusion, and taunt, being the more common word, is sometimes substituted for taut. You can remember the difference between the two by remembering that tight and taut both lack the n of taunt.

Examples of taut in a Sentence

Adjective

The rope was drawn taut. The book is a taut thriller.

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

A decade ago, American fiction writers had finally begun to reckon with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, packing their observations into taut, gemlike and ironic short stories and novels. Mark Athitakis, chicagotribune.com, "Karl Marlantes pens another spirited epic, this time about immigrants, logging and labor," 11 July 2019 Their buttocks are taut, their beards groomed, their poses powerful. Frances Mayes, National Geographic, "Discover Italy’s most delicious secret," 11 July 2019 A decade ago, American fiction writers had finally begun to reckon with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, packing their observations into taut, gemlike and ironic short stories and novels. Mark Athitakis, Washington Post, "‘Deep River’ bucks every literary trend, and that’s what makes it so charming," 8 July 2019 DeLorean was dashing, charismatic, flamboyant and narcissistic, undergoing various plastic surgeries and exercise regimes to keep his six foot, four inch figure taut and trim. Rick Kogan, chicagotribune.com, "Who could play the flamboyant car maker in 'Framing John DeLorean?' How about Alec Baldwin," 12 June 2019 Imagine two taut and flat plastic sheets with a bubble trapped inside. Quanta Magazine, "Solution: ‘Taming Quantum Weirdness’," 10 Mar. 2017 Clear plastic bags tied at the top and stretched taut sit inside. Nina Sparling, Vogue, "How a Mushroom Farm Grows in a Manhattan Restaurant," 24 Jan. 2018 Some people have skin that’s as taut and smooth as stainless steel. Mattie Kahn, Glamour, "I Regret to Inform You Vintner’s Daughter Is Totally Worth It," 24 Apr. 2019 In one moment, Hopkins clenched his fist, his neck tendons went taut and out came all of his frustrations when a missed UNC shot sat tantalizing on the rim. Percy Allen, The Seattle Times, "Huskies’ magic dries up as North Carolina gives UW another early exit from NCAA tournament," 24 Mar. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'taut.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of taut

Adjective

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2a(1)

Verb

1721, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for taut

Adjective

Middle English tought, perhaps from tought, toughth fierce, tough, alteration of tough tough

Verb

origin unknown

Combining form

Late Latin, from Greek, from tauto the same, contraction of to auto

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Dictionary Entries near taut

Taurus

tauryl

tau-saghyz

taut

taut-

tauten

taut helm

Statistics for taut

Last Updated

16 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for taut

The first known use of taut was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for taut

taut

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of taut

: very tight from being pulled or stretched : not loose or slack
: firm and strong : not loose or flabby
: very tense

taut

adjective
\ ˈtȯt How to pronounce taut (audio) \
tauter; tautest

Kids Definition of taut

1 : tightly stretched The rope was pulled taut.
2 : very tense Will waited, suddenly taut with excitement.— Susan Cooper, The Dark is Rising
3 : firm and not flabby taut muscles

Other Words from taut

tautly adverb

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More from Merriam-Webster on taut

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with taut

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for taut

Spanish Central: Translation of taut

Nglish: Translation of taut for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of taut for Arabic Speakers

Comments on taut

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