up·​tight ˈəp-ˈtīt How to pronounce uptight (audio)
: being tense, nervous, or uneasy
uptight overachievers
: rigidly conventional
an uptight conservative
: being in financial difficulties
uptightness noun

Example Sentences

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 Often caricatured as a loose cannon, Hoover was actually the consummate cautious bureaucrat, Gage says, the keeper of the files — an uptight, puritanical librarian. Washington Post Editors And Reviewers, Washington Post, 17 Nov. 2022 The hyperbole that comes out of a political campaign sometimes gets everybody uptight. Danielle Wallace, Fox News, 10 Nov. 2022 Set in the swinging '70s and centered on a group of would-be pornographers secretly filming an XXX movie on a farm owned by an uptight elderly couple. Katie Rife, EW.com, 7 Nov. 2022 Anika Larsen is not given a lot to do in the first act as William's uptight mom Elaine (originally played on screen to perfection by Frances McDormand), but is provided more (including her own number) in the second. Dalton Ross, EW.com, 4 Nov. 2022 Noah decides to call her on being too uptight and makes out with her while smashing piñatas. Ali Barthwell, Vulture, 17 Aug. 2021 Louis Lotorto plays the uptight Brian as grumpy, rigid and callous in his neglect of his wife, and then furiously jealous when others see her inner beauty. Pam Kragen, San Diego Union-Tribune, 12 Sep. 2022 As far as the vibe, Rabbit isn’t trying to be an uptight fine-dining spot. Tori Latham, Robb Report, 25 Aug. 2022 Wilson is referring to Marvel being uptight with actors who reveal too much information about their respective projects. Zack Sharf, Variety, 18 Aug. 2022 See More

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.

Word History

First Known Use

1934, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of uptight was in 1934

Dictionary Entries Near uptight

Cite this Entry

“Uptight.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/uptight. Accessed 2 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition



up·​tight ˈəp-ˈtīt How to pronounce uptight (audio)
: being tense, nervous, or uneasy

More from Merriam-Webster on uptight

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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

Challenging Words You Should Know

  • hedgehog reading a book
  • Often used to describe “the march of time,” what does inexorable mean?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.