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 uptightness (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 Your lack of response could make someone feel uptight. BostonGlobe.com, "Horoscope for Aug. 12, 2019," 12 Aug. 2019 What stirred up Puritans and Pilgrims in 1637 about Thomas Morton’s New English Canaan? Morton critiqued the Plymouth Colony as uptight, joyless, and dedicated to suppressing Native Americans. National Geographic, "How to remember such a long-ago sacrafice?," 11 Nov. 2019 Both movies portray a formerly uptight or lost woman finding happiness in a messy, more idealized family. Maureen Lee Lenker, EW.com, "13 classic holiday films to watch with their modern Christmas counterparts," 6 Dec. 2019 On Broadway, the uptight bandleader with a painful secret, Colonel Tewfiq, was played by Green Bay native Tony Shalhoub, who won a Tony. Jim Higgins, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Funny, poignant 'The Band's Visit' is a honey of a musical at Marcus Center's Broadway series," 27 Nov. 2019 Hopkins, cast in the rather thankless role of being the uptight hard-liner, brushes his performance with glimmers of humanity. Stephanie Zacharek, Time, "The Two Popes Is a Portrait of Complicated Friendship—With a Dash of Papal Pizazz," 26 Nov. 2019 Florence is as loose as Greenberg is uptight, and her dreams and disappointments are as fuzzy as his are acute. Naomi Fry, The New Yorker, "The Enjoyable Discomfort of Noah Baumbach’s “Greenberg”," 15 Nov. 2019 Through a pair of others, the uptight but fair-minded Missy (Nafessa Williams) confronts her childhood friend West with her long-standing grudges. Tomris Lafly, chicagotribune.com, "‘Black and Blue’ review: A rookie female police officer is caught in a world of contradictions," 25 Oct. 2019 Over the course of five seasons, viewers witnessed Walter's gradual transformation from an uptight science teacher cooking meth in his tighty-whities to a manipulative, cold-blooded killer. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Redemption not guaranteed: El Camino is a fitting coda to Jesse Pinkman’s story," 19 Oct. 2019

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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Statistics for uptight

Last Updated

7 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Uptight.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/uptight. Accessed 21 January 2020.

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More Definitions for uptight


How to pronounce uptight (audio)

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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More from Merriam-Webster on uptight

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for uptight

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with uptight

Spanish Central: Translation of uptight

Nglish: Translation of uptight for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of uptight for Arabic Speakers

Comments on uptight

What made you want to look up uptight? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


good-natured easy friendliness

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