\ ˈtīt How to pronounce tight (audio) \

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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from tight


tightly adverb
tightness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for tight

Synonyms: Adjective

impenetrable, impermeable, impervious

Antonyms: Adjective

penetrable, permeable, pervious

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

But when the losses mounted, the Rockies gripped the bats tighter and tried harder. Patrick Saunders, The Denver Post, "Saunders: Dissecting the Rockies’ maddening July meltdown," 4 Aug. 2019 Yesterdays, the star hit the red carpet at the premiere of The Peanut Butter Falcon in Hollywood wearing suiting’s best new pairing: a skin-tight tee. Vogue, "Shia LaBeouf Upgrades a Classic Suit With a Skin-Tight Tee," 2 Aug. 2019 The show’s characters embrace a maximalist approach born of new money: No rhinestone is too big, no jumpsuit too tight, and no shorts ever quite short enough. Cate Young, Vox, "Claws is a love letter to the proud, strip mall–fabulous American woman," 2 Aug. 2019 No Craig Stammen, the veteran Green has turned to a team-high 52 times this season — about two-thirds of those in situations that were arguably as tight as Thursday’s sixth inning. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Analysis: Andy Green’s status among Padres storylines to watch over final third of season," 2 Aug. 2019 Make sure all of your clothes fit – not too tight, not too loose. Liz Bentley, NBC News, "Liz Bentley: 3 foolproof ways to nail your next job interview," 2 Aug. 2019 With 25-to-54 viewers as 6 p.m., the race was much tighter: WFTV with 20,005, WESH with 15,062, WKMG with 13,617 and WOFL with 5,361. Hal Boedeker, orlandosentinel.com, "July ratings: WFTV leads in news; NBC prime scores on WESH," 1 Aug. 2019 Both the space and the drink menu are tight and simple — just three small tables inside (the patio is where to eat if the weather cooperates) and a few beers, wines and shots. Allyson Reedy, The Know, "This tiny, new, three-table restaurant on East Colfax celebrates street food," 30 July 2019 One of the men is warming the skin of his drum over an open fire; the goatskin can get tight in the cold, and the sound resonates better with a little heat. National Geographic, "Music in Morocco: The ultimate sonic journey," 23 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

For a newer dish, Chesa rolls Dungeness crab up tight in a wonton wrapper then lays each crispy cigar on a plate with flower petals, fish roe and a fresh green bean purée. Michael Russell, oregonlive.com, "Ataula is Portland’s finest Spanish restaurant (2019 review)," 4 Aug. 2019 Dozens of families have been found packed tight into semi-trailers in recent weeks, while travel in secret compartments of vehicles is also common. Washington Post, "Mexico officials detain more migrants as crackdown steps up," 23 June 2019 The beef is packed tight, forming a meatball inside the skin and almost squeaking under the teeth; still, the juices run. Ligaya Mishan, New York Times, "Winter Salvation, Fresh From the Dumpling Steamer, in Queens," 16 Jan. 2018 This is all why my guess now would be that the Chargers, based on their own history and the state of the position, sit tight and wait for Gordon to show up. Albert Breer, SI.com, "In Atlanta, Dan Quinn Is Ready to Show Off the Falcons’ Coaching Overhaul," 22 July 2019 Bimbo said, stepping across the path of the man with the club, fist tight around the handle of the katana. Colin Barrett, Harper's magazine, "The Alps," 22 July 2019 As in previous seasons, the Chargers — tight on salary-cap space — appear to be looking for economical options at the position. Dan Woike, latimes.com, "Chargers have a terrific crew at cornerback, but they still need plenty of help at safety," 14 Apr. 2018 However, the information must be economically related to dialogue pauses, which requires tight descriptive passages. Jordan Riefe, The Hollywood Reporter, "Voice Actor on How Ron Howard's Pavarotti Doc is a "Gift" to the Blind Community," 7 June 2019 Investigators are being tight-lipped about the case, saying holding back basic details may help solve it. Fox News, "Reward for missing University of Iowa student hits $260,000," 6 Aug. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about tight

Dictionary Entries near tight






tight backbone


Statistics for tight

Last Updated

8 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for tight

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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 How to pronounce tight (audio) \
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.

Keep scrolling for more

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).


a period when something is suspended

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Summer 2019 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a-bowl-of-peach-sorbet-with-cut-peaches-next-to-it
  • Which is a synonym of desideratum?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!