\ 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


tauted; tauting; tauts

Definition of taut (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

: mat, tangle
variants: or tauto-

Definition of taut- (Entry 3 of 3)

: same tautomerism tautonym

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Other Words from taut


tautly adverb
tautness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for taut

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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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 The prose is wonderfully sober and taut, the choices felicitous. James Romm, WSJ, "‘Meditations’ Review: A Stoic Emperor’s Bestseller," 26 Apr. 2021 His only mistake was dropping his glasses as his tether line snaps taut, which becomes the tip-off that the interloper is none other than…Tim Cook. Will Jeakle, Forbes, "Kindness Makes A Comeback In Apple’s ‘Spring Loaded’ Event," 21 Apr. 2021 But according to dermatologists and facialists, these facial exercises — also known as face yoga — may help the face appear more taut and sculpted. Leah Prinzivalli, Allure, "The Science Behind Face Yoga Exercises," 16 Apr. 2021 Another taut victory over Brigham Young was next, followed by a rare breather over Abilene Christian. Ben Bolch, Los Angeles Times, "For Mick Cronin, UCLA Bruins are still winners despite agonizing Final Four loss," 5 Apr. 2021 Stanford survived a taut, tense Final Four, beating South Carolina 66-65 in Friday’s semifinals and then edging Arizona 54-53 in Sunday’s title game. Ron Kroichick, San Francisco Chronicle, "Stanford parades around campus to celebrate women's basketball title," 5 Apr. 2021 The effect of a deep-plane face-lift is generally more natural, less pulled and taut than superficial lifts. Fiorella Valdesolo, WSJ, "It’s Last Call for Your Secret Covid Face-lift," 2 Apr. 2021 But neither the performance of Jovan Adepo as Bernard nor the taut direction by Jennifer Chang can overcome a script that attempts to tread too much territory in 75 minutes. David L. Coddon, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Arts & Culture Newsletter: Celebrating 50 years of Queen with 50 weeks’ worth of free clips," 25 Mar. 2021 Step on the middle of the jump rope and pull it taut, and the point at which the cable meets each handle should hit around the breast on your upper chest. Nicole Saunders, NBC News, "5 best jump ropes of 2021 for beginners and workouts," 30 Mar. 2021

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


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


1721, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for taut


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


origin unknown

Combining form

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

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Time Traveler for taut

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for taut

Last Updated

1 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Taut.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/taut. Accessed 6 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for taut



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


\ 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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for taut

Nglish: Translation of taut for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of taut for Arabic Speakers

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