up·​tight | \ ˈəp-ˈtīt How to pronounce uptight (audio) , (ˌ)əp-ˈtīt \

Definition of uptight

1a : being tense, nervous, or uneasy uptight overachievers
c : rigidly conventional an uptight conservative
2 : being in financial difficulties

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Other Words from uptight

uptightness \ (ˌ)əp-​ˈtīt-​nəs How to pronounce uptight (audio) \ noun

Examples of uptight in a Sentence

If our flight is delayed, there's nothing we can do. There's no reason to get so uptight about it. I don't know why people are so uptight about sex.
Recent Examples on the Web These floor routines, which feature popular music and dance moves and possess a looseness and joy that conflicts with the uptight reputation of the sport, have some people wondering if maybe gymnastics is changing. refinery29.com, "After Countless High-Profile Abuse Scandals, U.S. Gymnastics Is Entering A New Era Of Joy," 9 Feb. 2021 But as the film goes on, Graham’s tough exterior gives way to reveal a character who’s frightened and deeply unhappy, struggling to meet the expectations of her uptight father. Shirley Li, The Atlantic, "How A Queer Icon Made the Holiday Film of the Year," 9 Dec. 2020 Darcy Lowell is her opposite in every way, an uptight actuary who isn't looking for love after a devastating heartbreak. Maureen Lee Lenker, EW.com, "Hot Stuff: November romances bring mischief, star-crossed lovers, and hot dukes," 4 Dec. 2020 Facing pressure from her parents and uptight sister Sloane (Alison Brie), Harper spends much of the visit hanging out with her ex-boyfriend (Jake McDorman) while Abby turns to Harper’s secret high school girlfriend (Aubrey Plaza) for support. Sonia Rao, Washington Post, "Clea DuVall wanted to see more queer Christmas movies. With Kristen Stewart and Mackenzie Davis, she made one herself.," 25 Nov. 2020 Instantly, a story unfolded in his mind, one of a rambunctious East Coast family during a fragile time in their lives and the uptight Manhattan executive (with an insanely annoying throat tick) who becomes the target of their anxiety. Samantha Highfill, EW.com, "A holiday diamond in the rough: An oral history of The Family Stone," 16 Nov. 2020 Redmayne puts soul into the uptight Hayden, especially in a scene where Rylance’s wily Kunstler pushes him in a ferocious mock-trial practice. Sean P. Means, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Review: In ‘Trial of the Chicago 7,’ Aaron Sorkin uses history to speak passionately about today’s protests," 7 Oct. 2020 The wildcard proves to be Anna (Mia Wasikowska), Lily’s flighty and fragile younger daughter, who instantly clashes with her uptight, fretful older sister, Jennifer (Kate Winslet). Katie Walsh, chicagotribune.com, "‘Blackbird’ review: Susan Sarandon at center of story about grace in death," 16 Sep. 2020 The showing was with a slightly uptight agent who was dressed to the nines in a blue suit. Amy Gamerman, WSJ, "Party Foul: Listing Agents Walk In on Parties in Progress," 8 Sep. 2020

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

1934, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Time Traveler for uptight

Time Traveler

The first known use of uptight was in 1934

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Last Updated

18 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Uptight.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/uptight. Accessed 2 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for uptight



English Language Learners Definition of uptight

: nervous or worried and tending to become upset about something that does not make other people upset
: unable or unwilling to relax and express feelings openly : too concerned about behaving in a socially proper way


up·​tight | \ ˈəp-ˈtīt How to pronounce uptight (audio) , ˌəp- \

Kids Definition of uptight

: being tense, nervous, or uneasy

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