tight·​en | \ ˈtī-tᵊn How to pronounce tighten (audio) \
tightened; tightening\ ˈtīt-​niŋ How to pronounce tighten (audio) , ˈtī-​tᵊn-​iŋ \

Definition of tighten

intransitive verb

: to become tight or tighter
tighten one's belt
: to practice strict economy

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Other Words from tighten

tightener \ ˈtīt-​nər How to pronounce tighten (audio) , ˈtī-​tᵊn-​ər \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for tighten



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Examples of tighten in a Sentence

She tightened her hold on the handle. tighten the straps on the backpack so that the load doesn't shift while hiking
Recent Examples on the Web Insulating the underside of your roof is still an excellent way to tighten up your home and change its thermal envelope. BostonGlobe.com, 11 July 2021 Short wondered if Varsho might need to tighten up his approach in certain counts, perhaps by looking more often for a specific pitch in a specific location rather than trying to cover every inch of the strike zone. Nick Piecoro, The Arizona Republic, 8 July 2021 The vocal takes for the song had already been recorded once, but Nas wanted to tighten some parts up. New York Times, 7 July 2021 Trampled’s members all had to tighten up personal expenses during the hiatus. Star Tribune, 2 July 2021 At the time, the first-term Republican was facing pressure from the right to tighten up the state's voting laws after Georgia went blue in the 2020 presidential race and the Senate runoffs. Michael Warren, CNN, 25 June 2021 The elbow began to tighten up in the sixth inning Friday, said deGrom, who extended his streak of scoreless innings to 22. Larry Fleisher, ajc, 12 June 2021 Rethink and tighten up all the regular meetings on the schedule. Prudy Gourguechon, Forbes, 10 June 2021 At a time when voting rights disputes have become increasingly central to politics in the United States, the Supreme Court may be likely to support many of the current Republican state efforts to tighten election regulations. Henry Gass, The Christian Science Monitor, 1 July 2021

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

circa 1727, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

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Time Traveler for tighten

Time Traveler

The first known use of tighten was circa 1727

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Statistics for tighten

Last Updated

20 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Tighten.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tighten. Accessed 25 Jul. 2021.

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More Definitions for tighten



English Language Learners Definition of tighten

: to make (something) tight or tighter or to become tight or tighter


tight·​en | \ ˈtī-tᵊn How to pronounce tighten (audio) \
tightened; tightening

Kids Definition of tighten

: to make or become tight He tightened his grip.

More from Merriam-Webster on tighten

Nglish: Translation of tighten for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of tighten for Arabic Speakers


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