\ 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)

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 awakening of Jo’s literary vocation is pulled taut by two apparently conflicting desires: making a good living from one’s art, and relying on that art as a mode of personal expression. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, "The Compromises of Greta Gerwig’s “Little Women”," 31 Dec. 2019 Sciamma composes static tableaux featuring Haenel and Merlant in poses that feel both spontaneous and taut, rigidly unnatural and utterly authentic. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, "Speaking for Women’s Art in “Portrait of a Lady on Fire”," 10 Dec. 2019 Despite being a worrier, her gorgeous face stayed unlined and taut, even at almost 97 years of age. orlandosentinel.com, "Deaths in Central Florida: 11/24," 24 Nov. 2019 The Nittany Lions survived a taut, tense affair against upstart Indiana Saturday, rebounding from the crushing loss to Minnesota. Rainer Sabin, Detroit Free Press, "Big Ten football power rankings: Michigan football is on the rise," 18 Nov. 2019 Henry’s taut prose and efficient character development propel the story to a fiendish twist of an ending. oregonlive, "Another Read Through is leaving Mississippi Avenue, and other Oregon book news," 13 Dec. 2019 His taut and polished features, like those of an ageing game-show host, recall a time when Americans were happier to take their leaders at glossy face value. The Economist, "The stickiness of Joe Biden," 5 Dec. 2019 Image Elements of modernist atonality, Asian-inflected styles, jazz and eerie atmospheric noise course through the taut score. New York Times, "A Soldier’s Racially Charged Suicide Becomes a Powerful Opera," 13 June 2018 Twice, this taut and riveting duel came down to the right foot of Chase McLaughlin. Ron Kroichick, SFChronicle.com, "49ers kicker Chase McLaughlin makes three, misses chance to win game in OT," 11 Nov. 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


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

15 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Taut.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tauted. Accessed 26 January 2020.

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More Definitions for taut

How to pronounce taut- (audio)

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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with taut

Spanish Central: Translation of taut

Nglish: Translation of taut for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of taut for Arabic Speakers

Comments on taut

What made you want to look up taut? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to express in a more acceptable way

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