\ 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

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

One of the things that makes The Conformist so tense and taut is that the film’s aesthetic and composition visually surrounds the viewer, trapping us, alongside Marcello, within the increasingly distorted horror that his reality has become. Aja Romano, Vox, "Why Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Conformist still resonates today," 3 Dec. 2018 To create a smooth line, hold your finger to make the skin around your eye taut, but don't tug. Blake Bakkila, Good Housekeeping, "How to Apply Eyeliner That's Even, Straight, and Really, Really Pretty," 23 Jan. 2019 The taut drama about two Russian spies leading an undercover life as an American couple was relatively unappreciated when awards were handed out each year. David Bauder, The Seattle Times, "‘The Americans’ gets going-away present from Globes," 7 Jan. 2019 At first glance, American audiences might view the film as a Middle East history lesson couched in a taut courtroom drama. Jonathan Broder, Newsweek, "Ziad Doueiri's Controversial Film 'The Insult' Is Nominated for an Oscar After Boycotts in Lebanon," 26 Jan. 2018 Health care challenges About 21 miles from the Gardner prison cemetery, where visitors are not welcome, men with taut skin and thin faces lie on cots or slump in wheelchairs in a locked medical wing in the medium-security prison in Shirley. Jenifer Mckim, BostonGlobe.com, "With aging prison population, Massachusetts looks to possible cost-saving, compassionate fix," 21 May 2018 Yet the 2016 Éxilé rosé from Lise et Bertrand Jousset in the Loire Valley, made mostly of gamay, was yeasty let light and lithe, while the 2016 Indigeno from Ancarani in Emilia-Romagna, made of trebbiano, was taut and earthy. Eric Asimov, New York Times, "Bubbles, With Joy: Pétillant Naturel’s Triumphant Return," 8 Mar. 2018 Another common eyeliner mistake is pulling on the corner of your eye to hold your lid taut. Tiffany Dodson, SELF, "5 Mistakes You’re Making When Applying Liquid Eyeliner," 26 Sep. 2018 Leading blues and gospel singers who preceded her—including Bessie Smith, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Big Mama Thornton, Mahalia Jackson and Dinah Washington —could project their voices with taut, searing power. Marc Myers, WSJ, "Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, Dies," 16 Aug. 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

26 Mar 2019

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Time Traveler for taut

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

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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

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

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


not to be persuaded, moved, or stopped

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