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

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 The Senate has yet to take up legislation the House passed last week that would tighten the state’s firearms laws following a Supreme Court decision expanding gun rights across the country. Matt Stout, BostonGlobe.com, 29 July 2022 The board also voted Monday to postpone the start of Uvalde’s upcoming school year from Aug. 15 to Sept. 6 as officials work to tighten campus security in the wake of the May assault. Andrew Jeong, Washington Post, 26 July 2022 Political analysts expect the race to tighten somewhat in coming months. David Biller And DÉbora Álvares, ajc, 24 July 2022 Lawmakers promised meaningful legislation that would tighten up loopholes. Jeremy Gorner, Chicago Tribune, 8 July 2022 To clarify pores and rid of impurities, try the Detox Mask which works to cleanse and tighten in just ten minutes. Kiana Murden, Vogue, 30 June 2022 For the former, attach the ski strap between the two shoulder straps and tighten down across your chest. Trevor Husted, Outside Online, 3 Apr. 2022 The decision comes as campus restrictions begin to tighten across the country. Ryan Kartje, Los Angeles Times, 4 Jan. 2022 For that to happen, the team must cut way back on its penalties, rediscover its magic on offense, tighten things up on defense across the board and start playing complimentary football again. Bob Mcmanaman, The Arizona Republic, 27 Dec. 2021 See More

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.

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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Dictionary Entries Near tighten



tight end

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Statistics for tighten

Last Updated

1 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Tighten.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tighten. Accessed 11 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for tighten


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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