up·tight | \ˈəp-ˈtīt, (ˌ)əp-ˈtīt\

Definition of uptight 

1a : being tense, nervous, or uneasy uptight overachievers

b : angry, indignant

c : rigidly conventional an uptight conservative

2 : being in financial difficulties

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from uptight

uptightness \(ˌ)əp-ˈtīt-nəs \ 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

Michael Mullen’s costumes put the pansexual dancers in everything from brazen lingerie to innocent school uniforms, while keeping Cliff trussed in an uptight bow tie. Daryl H. Miller, latimes.com, "The world is ending, so come to the 'Cabaret'," 15 June 2018 The play is based on the 1910 German farce by Carl Sternheim, centering on the household of an uptight government worker and his pretty young wife, who accidentally exposes her underwear in public while waving to the king. Joan Rusek, cleveland.com, "Fight hunger, hear 'Gettysburg' music and celebrate Barbie and Judy: Valley Views," 24 Apr. 2018 In these books, we Americans are portrayed horribly — somehow simultaneously slovenly and uptight, perpetually dressed in spandex yet overweight, arrogant yet superficially friendly, impervious to pleasure and obsessed with mammon. New York Times, "Letter of Recommendation: ‘Live Like a French Woman’ Books," 12 June 2018 Delano is an uptight bourgeois black fellow from Oak Park. Tony Adler, Chicago Reader, "The members of Support Group for Men don’t get eviscerated, but what does happen isn’t much more edifying," 2 July 2018 Record labels are so uptight about how to market something. Jason Scott, Billboard, "'Car Wheels on a Gravel Road' Turns 20: Lucinda Williams & Producer Steve Earle Reflect on Her Masterpiece," 30 June 2018 The usually uptight Russian police has turned a blind eye on misdemeanors like public drinking and traffic obstructions by joyous fans. Andrew Beaton, WSJ, "How Russia Gave Itself a Facelift for the World Cup," 4 July 2018 A few years later, Strout published Amy and Isabelle, about an uptight white woman from Maine. Isobel Thompson, A-LIST, "Centre Stage: Elizabeth Strout," 14 June 2018 At first blush, Allora can come across as aloof and bound by its own ambition — in short, a little uptight. Kate Washington, sacbee, "If Allora can learn to relax a little, it will be one of the city's best restaurants | The Sacramento Bee," 11 May 2018

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.

See More

First Known Use of uptight

1934, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about uptight

Dictionary Entries near uptight





up till



Statistics for uptight

Last Updated

30 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for uptight

The first known use of uptight was in 1934

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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, ˌəp-\

Kids Definition of uptight

: being tense, nervous, or uneasy

Keep scrolling for more

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).


one that holds something together

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!