\ 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 There loomed another statue of Stonewall Jackson astride his great horse—both figures taut and hyper-alert, as if on the very precipice of combat. Robert Draper, National Geographic, "Toppling statues is a first step toward ending Confederate myths," 2 July 2020 Cook the pancake for about 1 to 2 minutes; as the pancake cooks, its surface should be shiny, taut and slightly rippled. Kara Elder, Washington Post, "A Serbian Croatian pancake meets Italian flavors in this family recipe mash-up," 1 July 2020 Majumdar’s expansive empathy bolsters her skilled, taut plotting; interludes focused on those beyond the main story reaffirm its author’s boundless storytelling potential. Leah Greenblatt, EW.com, "The best books of 2020… so far," 30 June 2020 The plea from the former vice president marks an escalation of already taut tensions over the company's refusal to remove controversial statements made by Trump that referred to violence against protesters. Jessica Guynn, USA TODAY, "Biden campaign demands that Facebook crack down on Trump, disinformation ahead of presidential election," 12 June 2020 Schlesinger’s film is a taut battle of performance styles, pitting New Hollywood icon Hoffman against the old-fashioned theatrical legend Olivier. David Sims, The Atlantic, "The 13 Best Movies About Why You Shouldn’t Trust the Government," 5 June 2020 Containment Those Brits certainly have a knack for making taut, psychological thrillers about ordinary people dealing with extraordinary circumstances. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Indulge your morbid curiosity about the pandemic with these ten films," 3 May 2020 Her songs are tempestuous and taut, flirty and fun, with intoxicating hooks that sound like nothing else on the radio right now. USA TODAY, "Dua Lipa's 'Future Nostalgia,' and 5 more perfect pop albums to get you through quarantine," 26 Mar. 2020 There’s also a Sport mode that makes the steering even more taut and renders the handling seamless. cleveland, "Toyota Sienna AWD: It’s all the SUV most of us need," 7 Mar. 2020

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

11 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Taut.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/taut. Accessed 11 Jul. 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

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