\ 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

This controversial quote would be a surprisingly candid admission from the normally tight-lipped Weinstein, and Theodoracopulos' response puts the whole interview in question. Kathryn Lindsay, refinery29.com, "Harvey Weinstein Reportedly Admitted To Exchanging Sex For Roles — & Then Took It Back," 13 July 2018 The Sheriff’s Office has not released arrest reports in the case and has been tight-lipped about details. Wayne K. Roustan, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Gunman in XXXTentacion murder arrested, Sheriff’s Office says," 11 July 2018 Apple has been reported to be developing self-driving-vehicle technology for several years, though the company has been tight-lipped about its plans and ambitions. Klint Finley, WIRED, "Ex-Apple Employee Accused of Stealing Self-Driving Car Tech," 10 July 2018 Docks Oyster Bar & Seafood Grill, a spacious Midtown restaurant, doesn’t advertise itself as a haunt for New York’s power-brokers, and its staff is tight-lipped about the establishment’s political clientele. Mike Vilensky, WSJ, "The Oyster Bar Where the Governor Brokers Deals While Breaking Bread," 8 July 2018 Ryan’s tight-lipped approach has hardly been limited to members of Congress. Li Zhou, Vox, "Paul Ryan has no problem going after Maxine Waters — even as he evades Steve King’s misdeeds," 26 June 2018 Lake County commissioners say money is too tight to fund Sheriff Peyton Grinnell’s request for a $9.8 million budget boost to hire 28 new employees and boost salaries to make his department more competitive with other agencies that pay more. Jerry Fallstrom, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Lake says not enough money to fund sheriff's $9.8 million budget increase request," 13 July 2018 Everybody’s gonna be tight trying to roll the center (of the turn). Jason Hoffman, Cincinnati.com, "Dale Earnhardt Jr. talk about life after racing, Kentucky Speedway and the Chevy Camaro," 13 July 2018 Developers and affordable housing advocates have argued that requiring more parking could increase the cost of a development, squeezing margins that builders claim are already tight as land, labor, and building costs rise. Caitlin Mccabe, Philly.com, "Philadelphia has 2,172,896 parking spaces. So how come you're still circling the block?," 12 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

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 Meanwhile, sales in the Northeast and West declined and purchases were flat in the Midwest in May. More widely, housing market inventory has been tight, driving up home prices and pricing some potential buyers out of the market. Paul Kiernan, WSJ, "New Home Sales Surge on Rising Purchases in the South," 25 June 2018 Mendoza's mother, Natalia, squeezes him tight at the airport, their first hug in 18 years. Maria Sacchetti, Washington Post, "Going home after half a lifetime," 30 May 2018 Its borders and exits into Israel (and one to Egypt) are shut tight, which means no exports and no work. Trudy Rubin, Philly.com, "U.S. Embassy moved to Jerusalem, Gaza exploded. Does Trump or Bibi have a Plan B? | Trudy Rubin," 15 May 2018 Bella's outfit was equally fun: a blue crop-top over tight, stretchy silver shorts with silver stilettos and a clunky necklace and earrings. Suzannah Weiss, Teen Vogue, "Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid Dress Up for a Girls' Night Out at Cannes," 13 May 2018 The first half was played tight, with counterattacks leading to the best chances. Justin Maskulinski, Houston Chronicle, "Spring Woods falls to Coppell in double-overtime thriller," 13 Apr. 2018 But on Thursday, following a 1.5-day preliminary hearing, Superior Court Judge Harry Elias set bail with conditions for Winslow II, who is the son of legendary Chargers tight-end Kellen Winslow. Teri Figueroa, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Kellen Winslow II posts bail, released from jail," 13 July 2018 For those who love it like Fraser and Lofgren and their counterparts Friday night, that's more than enough to put a fresh grip on the racquet and lace those sneakers up high and tight. Adam Baum, Cincinnati.com, "Princeton, Little Miami grads team up and take men's Met doubles championship," 13 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

5 Sep 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).


alleviating pain or harshness

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