\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

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

Arthur is part of a tight-knit group that follows a charismatic leader named Dutch Van Der Linde. Andrew Webster, The Verge, "Red Dead Redemption 2 is the most convincing open-world game ever made," 25 Oct. 2018 That's precisely the sort of open-ended, impractical research that finds itself at risk whenever budgets get tight and funding has to be cut. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Gene drive used to turn all female mosquitos sterile," 27 Sep. 2018 The competition between the best colleges in the U.S. is getting very tight. Araceli Cruz, Teen Vogue, ""U.S. News" Releases 2019 College Rankings," 10 Sep. 2018 Through all their ups and downs, from job insecurity to dating disasters to negotiating for higher pay, the crew stays tight and their friendship is always way more important than drama of the work or relationship variety. Rachel Mosely, Seventeen, "The Stars of "The Bold Type" Talk Living Like a Boss," 16 July 2018 The urgent and dangerous effort has involved the boys diving through the cave's tight and twisting passages, guided by experienced divers. Kaweewit Kaewjinda And Stephen Wright, chicagotribune.com, "Rescue of remaining 4 boys, coach from flooded Thai cave could take two operations," 9 July 2018 As an actual racing game, which is what The Crew 2 is, after all, the controls are not as tight or complex as those seen in the genre's top dogs Forza and Gran Turismo. Patrick Shanley, The Hollywood Reporter, "'The Crew 2': Game Review," 27 June 2018 Be careful in steering through hazardous curves that may get tighter as drivers go through them. Bruce Henderson, charlotteobserver, "Be wary of these NC natural wonders this summer," 25 June 2018 Some opted for a tight and polished look, including the show's host, Tiffany Haddish, and This Is Us star Mandy Moore, who sported a super-long, 18-inch ponytail down her back. refinery29.com, "The Low-Maintenance Hair Trend That Ruled The MTV Movie & TV Awards," 18 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

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 Investors are sitting tight, awaiting cues from the trade negotiations that began Thursday in Washington between top American and Chinese economic officials. Joanne Chiu, WSJ, "Asia-Pacific Stocks Head for Biggest Drop in Eight Weeks," 18 May 2018 The game was tight into the seventh with Hartford holding a 2-0 lead. Staff Reports, courant.com, "Hartford Earns First NCAA Baseball Berth," 26 May 2018 But hang tight: If all things go according to plan, the intention is eventually to roll out to other cities soon. Devin Alessio, ELLE Decor, "Meet The Couple Who Will Unpack Your Home For You," 2 Sep. 2016 Not only does it cut cooking time way, way down for all sorts of dishes, but the pressure cooker seals tight, keeping heat inside, which is a real win in the summer months. Samantha Gordon, USA TODAY, "These are the 5 best deals on Amazon right now," 12 July 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

14 Nov 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

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