\ˈtīt \

Definition of tight 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : having elements close together a tight formation a tight line of type

b : so close in structure as to prevent passage or escape (as of liquid, gas, or light) a tight ship a tight seal — compare lightproof, watertight

c : fitting very close to the body tight jeans also : too snug tight shoes

d(1) : closely packed : very full a tight bale of hay

(2) : barely allowing time for completion a tight schedule tight deadlines

e : allowing little or no room for free motion or movement a tight connection a tight crawl space also : having a small radius a tight turn

2a : strongly fixed or held : secure a tight jar lid a tight grip on the ladder

b(1) : not slack or loose : taut kept the reins tight a tight knot a tight drumhead also : marked by firmness and muscle tone a tight stomach

(2) : marked by unusual tension (as in the face or body) lips tight with anger a family tight with fear

3a : difficult to cope with in a tight spot financially

b : relatively difficult to obtain money is tight just now also : characterized by such difficulty a tight job market

c : not liberal in giving : stingy tight with a penny

4 : characterized by little difference in the relative positions of contestants with respect to final outcome : close a tight race for mayor

5a : characterized by firmness or strictness in control or application or in attention to details tight security ran a tight newsroom keeps a tight hand on her investments

b : marked by control or discipline in expression or style : having little or no extraneous matter tight writing

c : characterized by a polished style and precise arrangements in music performance

6 : having a close personal or working relationship : intimate is tight with the boss

7 : being such that the subject fills the frame a tight close-up

8 : somewhat drunk

9 chiefly dialectal : capable, competent



Definition of tight (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : fast, tightly, firmly the door was shut tight

2 : in a sound manner : soundly sleep tight

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Other Words from tight


tightly adverb
tightness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for tight

Synonyms: Adjective

impenetrable, impermeable, impervious

Antonyms: Adjective

penetrable, permeable, pervious

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Examples of tight in a Sentence


The lid is too tight. I can't loosen it. She made a tight knot in the rope. Keep a tight grip on his hand when you cross the street. Pull the ribbon tight and make a bow.


Is the door shut tight? She screwed the cap on tight. Don't close the lid so tight. We were packed as tight as sardines on the bus.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Five performers kick, swing, dance and sing through various holiday numbers while wearing many tight (though not really low-cut) outfits of feathers, fishnet, sequin, glitter and even argyle socks. Elisa Murray, The Seattle Times, "Leapin’ lizards! We leaped through 3 family holiday shows, from ‘Annie’ to ‘Matilda’ to ‘Wonderland’," 5 Dec. 2018 Your boots should feel snug all over but not tight. Lexie Sachs, Good Housekeeping, "The 5 Best Hiking Boots for Women, Reviewed by Experts," 4 Dec. 2018 Smith belongs to the same generation as pianist Robert Glasper, and he traffics in similar territory, but the former keeps a much tighter rein on his band, dispensing endless vamps and incorporating solos that go against the music’s smooth veneer. Peter Margasak, Chicago Reader, "Jazz drummer Nate Smith comes into his own as a bandleader with a sleek strain of R&B and funk that showcases his improvisational elasticity," 12 July 2018 Jon Tayler: The AL Cy Young race is loaded and tight. Si.com Staff, SI.com, "Midseason Roundtable: The SI Staff Makes Some Second-Half Predictions," 11 July 2018 Another, even tighter race is for the Republican nomination for the Harford County Council District E seat. David Anderson, The Aegis, "Leaders in 2018 Harford races remain there after provisional ballot canvass Thurs.," 5 July 2018 Korogocho is only a couple square kilometers and home to approximately 200,000 people who are living in really tight conditions. National Geographic, "Meet the 'Kickboxing Grannies' of Kenya's Most Dangerous Slum," 28 June 2018 These workout pants are the exact right amount tight. Kim Fusaro, Glamour, "The Actual Best Workout Pants Cost Less Than $30," 14 Nov. 2018 To view this video please enable JavaScript, and consider upgrading to a web browser that However, Cruz is still leading in the polls by 7 points, according to RealClearPolitics, so the lead-up to the November 6 election will certainly be tight. Christianna Silva, Teen Vogue, "Beto O'Rourke's Best Dunks on Ted Cruz in Their Final Texas Senate Race Debate," 17 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

The last time Texas had an election for the Senate, in 2014, incumbent Republican Sen. John Cornyn beat his Democratic rival by nearly 30 points, which may be why Republican strategists are nervous about how tight the current race is sitting. Asher Stockler, Vox, "Texas independents break with tradition and go for Beto in a new poll," 28 Oct. 2018 The network can’t accurately model loose fabrics for example, so the target individual has to wear tight-fitting clothes. James Vincent, The Verge, "Deepfakes for dancing: you can now use AI to fake those dance moves you always wanted," 26 Aug. 2018 For 10 years after the film came out, some of the most famous fishing schools in the United States had more women than men learning to tie flies and cast tight-looped lines. Heather Radke, Longreads, "A Beginner’s Guide to Fly Fishing With Your Father," 16 June 2018 As with everything else, Ocean Infinity is staying tight-lipped. Jeff Wise, Daily Intelligencer, "The Mysterious New Search for MH370," 25 Jan. 2018 The race for second place was tight between leftist Gustavo Petro, with 25 percent, and former Medellin mayor Sergio Fajardo, with 24 percent of the vote. Christine Armario And Joshua Goodman, BostonGlobe.com, "Conservative tops Colombia presidential vote but runoff needed," 28 May 2018 By sitting tight, Anthem has avoided those problems for now, and new CEO Gail Boudreaux has plenty of options to generate growth. Charley Grant, WSJ, "Anthem May Win by Sitting Out Wave of Health Insurance Deals," 6 Apr. 2018 Well, the Travel Channel is being tight-lipped about it. Kirby Adams, The Courier-Journal, "The Travel Channel will reveal something in Louisville – but it's being mysterious," 28 Mar. 2018 While orchestras and opera companies hold tight, for the time being, to the fading magic of the maestro, beloved of aging donors and subscribers, audiences as a whole believe the illusion less and less each year. Zachary Woolfe, New York Times, "With James Levine Fired, Should We Rethink Maestro Worship?," 13 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tight.' 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 tight


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1680, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for tight


Middle English tiht, thyht dense, solid, watertight, of Scandinavian origin; akin to Old Norse thēttr tight; akin to Middle High German dīhte thick, Sanskrit tanakti it causes to coagulate

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Dictionary Entries near tight






tight backbone


Statistics for tight

Last Updated

12 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for tight

The first known use of tight was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for tight



English Language Learners Definition of tight

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: difficult to move : fastened, attached, or held in a position that is not easy to move

: fitting very close to your body

: flat or firm from being pulled or stretched



English Language Learners Definition of tight (Entry 2 of 2)

: in a tight way


\ˈtīt \
tighter; tightest

Kids Definition of tight

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : very closely packed or compressed a tight bundle a tight fist

2 : fixed or held very firmly in place a tight jar cover

3 : fitting too closely tight shoes

4 : firmly stretched or drawn : taut Pull the rope until it's tight.

5 : difficult to get through or out of I'm in a tight spot.

6 : firm in control She keeps a tight hand on affairs.

8 : low in supply : scarce Money is tight until I get paid.

9 : painfully or uncomfortably tense a tight throat

10 : barely allowing enough time a tight schedule

Other Words from tight

tightly adverb
tightness noun



Kids Definition of tight (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : in a firm, secure, or close manner Shut the door tight. Hold on tight.

2 : in a deep and uninterrupted manner : soundly Sleep tight.

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More from Merriam-Webster on tight

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for tight

Spanish Central: Translation of tight

Nglish: Translation of tight for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of tight for Arabic Speakers

Comments on tight

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


living or existing for a long time

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