\ˈtȯt \

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 muscles

(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

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


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

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

In another, taut with mounting tension, Callimachi confronts an ISIS fighter with a woman’s accusation of rape. Cate Mcquaid, BostonGlobe.com, "When fact and imagination meet," 6 June 2018 Eyrich’s costumes are essential in keeping the tension in the series as taut as one of Versace’s signature little dresses. Tony Bravo, San Francisco Chronicle, "Costumes help tell the story in “The Assassination of Gianni Versace”," 15 Jan. 2018 Skinned whole rabbits, limbs stretched taut as on a rack, eyes glassy. The Economist, "French vegans are tormenting France’s butchers," 5 July 2018 And both shows are taut puzzles whose mysteries unfurl the course of a short season that keeps audiences captivated during the high summer months. refinery29.com, "Meet The Cast & Characters Of Sharp Objects, HBO’s Darkest Show Yet," 5 July 2018 There are a few laughs, some taut exchanges and, much to Talbott’s credit, an honest attempt to face up to some thorny realities. Kerry Lengel, azcentral, "Review: Nearly Naked Theatre's 'The Submission' is how NOT to add to the diversity debate," 3 July 2018 Embellished Braids Pulled back into a taut high pony, the closing statement braids—a perfect mix of balanced beading and extreme length—are at once fantasy and low-key utility. Vogue, "Dior Just Served Up 5 Striking Hair Ideas for the July Fourth Weekend," 2 July 2018 The American flag that draped his casket was meticulously folded into a taut triangle and presented to his cousin, Sharon Kelley of Canton, who had not known about MacDonald until recently. Brian Macquarrie, BostonGlobe.com, "At long last, remains of WWII Marine are laid to rest," 22 June 2018 Hotel Artemis is a clever, taut action movie with an all-star cast playing very bad people on a very bad night. Joshua Rivera, GQ, "The Hotel Artemis Director Thinks We've Been Doing Sequels All Wrong," 13 June 2018

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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Dictionary Entries near taut







taut helm

Statistics for taut

Last Updated

8 Oct 2018

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



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 \
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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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 warning or disapproval

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