\ ˈtīt How to pronounce tight (audio) \

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

Synonyms & Antonyms for tight

Synonyms: Adjective

impenetrable, impermeable, impervious

Antonyms: Adjective

penetrable, permeable, pervious

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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

The changing standards, which state officials said set a higher bar academically, came in the wake of a recession, and money for training teachers on the new standards was tight. al, "More answers to your questions about education in Alabama," 14 Aug. 2019 The race is already tight with contestants from 2019, but producers do often pick from previous seasons. Katherine J. Igoe, Marie Claire, "'Bachelor In Paradise's Clay Harbor Is Beloved By Bachelor Nation," 9 Aug. 2019 The race for the NWSL Shield is tight with the North Carolina Courage sitting just one point behind the Thorns. Jamie Goldberg, oregonlive.com, "Portland Thorns draw Sky Blue FC 1-1: Highlights, live updates recap," 3 Aug. 2019 This brings us to the tight spot in which the Fed now finds itself. Gwynn Guilford, Quartz, "With today’s rate cut, the Fed is jeopardizing its credibility," 31 July 2019 The eligibility criteria for September’s debate are tighter, meaning that lower-polling candidates will need to juice their scores and fundraising to keep their campaigns alive. Jennifer Epstein, Fortune, "Joe Biden Stakes Out Centrist Position on Immigration, Asylum Policy During Democratic Debate," 31 July 2019 When the Conservatives came to power in 2010 Britain was in a tight economic spot. The Economist, "Britain’s Tories used to relish fiscal discipline. No longer," 27 July 2019 Trying to back trailers into tight spots is complicated when your tow vehicle is more than 21 feet long by itself. Ezra Dyer, Popular Mechanics, "The Ram 3500 Is Textbook Outrageous," 22 July 2019 But here's the catch: A rapid steepening could confirm that the Fed was in fact too tight and a recession is coming. Matt Egan, CNN, "If cracks are forming in the US economy, banks didn't get the memo," 17 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

For a newer dish, Chesa rolls Dungeness crab up tight in a wonton wrapper then lays each crispy cigar on a plate with flower petals, fish roe and a fresh green bean purée. Michael Russell, oregonlive.com, "Ataula is Portland’s finest Spanish restaurant (2019 review)," 4 Aug. 2019 Dozens of families have been found packed tight into semi-trailers in recent weeks, while travel in secret compartments of vehicles is also common. Washington Post, "Mexico officials detain more migrants as crackdown steps up," 23 June 2019 The beef is packed tight, forming a meatball inside the skin and almost squeaking under the teeth; still, the juices run. Ligaya Mishan, New York Times, "Winter Salvation, Fresh From the Dumpling Steamer, in Queens," 16 Jan. 2018 This is all why my guess now would be that the Chargers, based on their own history and the state of the position, sit tight and wait for Gordon to show up. Albert Breer, SI.com, "In Atlanta, Dan Quinn Is Ready to Show Off the Falcons’ Coaching Overhaul," 22 July 2019 Bimbo said, stepping across the path of the man with the club, fist tight around the handle of the katana. Colin Barrett, Harper's magazine, "The Alps," 22 July 2019 As in previous seasons, the Chargers — tight on salary-cap space — appear to be looking for economical options at the position. Dan Woike, latimes.com, "Chargers have a terrific crew at cornerback, but they still need plenty of help at safety," 14 Apr. 2018 However, the information must be economically related to dialogue pauses, which requires tight descriptive passages. Jordan Riefe, The Hollywood Reporter, "Voice Actor on How Ron Howard's Pavarotti Doc is a "Gift" to the Blind Community," 7 June 2019 Investigators are being tight-lipped about the case, saying holding back basic details may help solve it. Fox News, "Reward for missing University of Iowa student hits $260,000," 6 Aug. 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

22 Aug 2019

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 How to pronounce tight (audio) \
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).


not constant or steady

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