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 Several German states will tighten lockdown measures as the country struggles with surging infections -- 20,816 new cases reported today alone. Tara John, CNN, "What you need to know about coronavirus on Wednesday, December 9," 9 Dec. 2020 Health officials in Montana, New Mexico and Wyoming also expect supplies to tighten in the coming weeks as cases rise and demand for masks increases, according to a Wall Street Journal report. Megan Cerullo, CBS News, "Supplies of N95 masks running low as COVID-19 surges," 6 Nov. 2020 The Israeli government will tighten its second national lockdown after COVID-19 cases rose to roughly 5,000 per day last week, the New York Times reported. Cassidy Morrison, Washington Examiner, "Pandemic jobs recovery has lost momentum," 24 Sep. 2020 The audit makes recommendations to tighten the admissions process for prospective athletes while noting the risk of growing dependence of lower-profile sports programs on outside contributions. Mark Zeigler, San Diego Union-Tribune, "State audit: UCSD inappropriately admitted ‘athlete’ as favor to Athletic Board member," 22 Sep. 2020 Coronavirus case numbers had skyrocketed in November, prompting Quinn-Davidson to tighten restrictions. Emily Goodykoontz, Anchorage Daily News, "Anchorage to relax ‘hunker-down’ order Friday, allowing a limited reopening for bars and restaurants," 29 Dec. 2020 But the Kremlin is taking no chances ahead of parliamentary elections set for next fall, pushing through a series of new laws that would tighten already-sweeping restrictions on opposition groups and public protests. Henry Meyer, Bloomberg.com, "For Some in Russia’s Elite, Putin’s Future Is Again a Hot Topic," 20 Dec. 2020 The pain for many small businesses is only increasing as a new wave of Covid-19 cases sweeps the country and states reimpose or tighten restrictions. Ruth Simon, WSJ, "For Small Firms, Covid-19 Cuts Deeper; ‘It’s Getting Worse Every Day’," 19 Dec. 2020 Faced with a new mutation of the coronavirus that may be spreading more quickly, Prime Minister Boris Johnson plans to tighten pandemic restrictions, including rolling back relaxed rules over the holiday period, according to British media reports. Washington Post, "Britain to tighten lockdowns over virus mutation precautions, reports say," 19 Dec. 2020

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

21 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Tighten.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tighten. Accessed 21 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for tighten


How to pronounce tighten (audio)

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.

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Comments on tighten

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