up·​tight | \ ˈəp-ˈtīt, (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 \ 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

The people are warm and even the fanciest restaurants don't feel uptight. Mehera Bonner, Marie Claire, "The 'Big Little Lies' Guide to Monterey, California," 10 Dec. 2018 One was irresponsible, fun-loving, and musically gifted (Hilda) and the other was responsible, kind of uptight, and a scientist (Zelda)? Jessica Macleish, Teen Vogue, "11 Differences Between "Chilling Adventures of Sabrina" and "Sabrina the Teenage Witch"," 26 Oct. 2018 There’s the uptight morning news anchor, Elizabeth (Nina Dobrev), who warms to her new co-host, Jimmy (Tone Bell), when their pups bond. Katie Walsh, The Seattle Times, "Pups lift the doldrums of ‘Dog Days’," 7 Aug. 2018 The timing felt right for the drama program to tackle the Tony Award-winning production, which details the exploits of conman Harold Hill, uptight librarian Marian Paroo and the cast of unique characters who call River City, Iowa, home. John Benson, cleveland.com, "Normandy High School presents 'The Music Man Jr.' April 27 and 28," 18 Apr. 2018 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

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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Statistics for uptight

Last Updated

23 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for uptight

The first known use of uptight was in 1934

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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

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More from Merriam-Webster on uptight

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with uptight

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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).


tremendous in size, volume, or degree

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