tight

1 of 2

adjective

1
a
: having elements close together
a tight formation
a tight line of type
b
: so close in structure as to prevent passage or escape (as of liquid, gas, or light)
a tight ship
a tight seal
compare lightproof, watertight
c
: fitting very close to the body
tight jeans
also : too snug
tight shoes
d(1)
: closely packed : very full
a tight bale of hay
(2)
: barely allowing time for completion
a tight schedule
tight deadlines
e
: allowing little or no room for free motion or movement
a tight connection
a tight crawl space
also : having a small radius
a tight turn
2
a
: strongly fixed or held : secure
a tight jar lid
a tight grip on the ladder
b(1)
: not slack or loose : taut
kept the reins tight
a tight knot
a tight drumhead
also : marked by firmness and muscle tone
a tight stomach
(2)
: marked by unusual tension (as in the face or body)
lips tight with anger
a family tight with fear
3
a
: difficult to cope with
in a tight spot financially
b
: relatively difficult to obtain
money is tight just now
also : characterized by such difficulty
a tight job market
c
: not liberal in giving : stingy
tight with a penny
4
: characterized by little difference in the relative positions of contestants with respect to final outcome : close
a tight race for mayor
5
a
: characterized by firmness or strictness in control or application or in attention to details
tight security
ran a tight newsroom
keeps a tight hand on her investments
b
: marked by control or discipline in expression or style : having little or no extraneous matter
tight writing
c
: characterized by a polished style and precise arrangements in music performance
6
: having a close personal or working relationship : intimate
is tight with the boss
7
: being such that the subject fills the frame
a tight close-up
8
: somewhat drunk
9
chiefly dialectal : capable, competent
tightly adverb
tightness noun

tight

2 of 2

adverb

1
: fast, tightly, firmly
the door was shut tight
2
: in a sound manner : soundly
sleep tight

Example Sentences

Adjective The lid is too tight. I can't loosen it. She made a tight knot in the rope. Keep a tight grip on his hand when you cross the street. Pull the ribbon tight and make a bow. Adverb Is the door shut tight? She screwed the cap on tight. Don't close the lid so tight. We were packed as tight as sardines on the bus. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Adjective
Both teams dealt with flights and tight schedules, but Butler does not have the luxury of going to a deep bench. Akeem Glaspie, The Indianapolis Star, 24 Nov. 2022 Instead of immediately shuffling down a fairly tight corridor surrounding the arena’s central bowl, audience members are split, either proceeding to seats on the floor or taking an escalator, elevator or steps to the upper sections. Mary Colurso | Mcolurso@al.com, al, 24 Nov. 2022 The economy is slowing and the country is divided after a tight election that pitted Anwar’s progressive coalition against Muhyiddin’s mostly conservative ethnic-Malay, Muslim alliance. Reuters, NBC News, 24 Nov. 2022 Clyde’s outfits, designed with delicious panache by Jennifer Moeller, get more and more devilish with each scene, until at last Clyde is sheathed in skin-tight bright red leather. Margaret Gray, Los Angeles Times, 23 Nov. 2022 Chamberlain said a travel agent presented him with two options: three or four days with tight purse strings (and drinking rules) in Qatar, or 10 days at one of Tenerife’s nicer hotels, all inclusive. Jack Williams Laura León, New York Times, 23 Nov. 2022 Budget airlines and major airlines with tight restrictions on basic-economy tickets—looking at you, United and JetBlue—only allow passengers to bring one personal item for free. Dawn Gilbertson, WSJ, 23 Nov. 2022 Norman Reedus and Danai Gurira share a tight embrace while at The Walking Dead Live: The Finale Event in Los Angeles on Nov. 20. People Staff, Peoplemag, 23 Nov. 2022 But Hamilton Place was still years away, especially given the complexity of rehabilitating a historic building in a tight downtown spot. Catherine Carlock, BostonGlobe.com, 23 Nov. 2022
Adverb
You might occasionally get lost in the musical-theory weeds, but hang tight. San Diego Union-Tribune, 25 Nov. 2022 Herschel Walker remains tight in Georgia, an AARP poll finds. Alexandra Marquez, NBC News, 22 Nov. 2022 With a game this tight, the home team has a natural advantage. Jeremy Cluff, The Arizona Republic, 22 Nov. 2022 Players joked the last couple weeks about the rims being too tight and as a result not providing the friendly bounces in Neville Arena, but perhaps the change of scenery did Auburn’s shooters some good, as the Tigers got off to a quick start. Tom Green | Tgreen@al.com, al, 22 Nov. 2022 The focus with the hex press is to now have the load pressed in front, but with the dumbbells held tight together in a neutral position (palms facing each other). Jeff Tomko, Men's Health, 22 Nov. 2022 Keeps my face tight and balanced yet refreshed and bright. Ariana Yaptangco, ELLE, 21 Nov. 2022 The film shrinks tight around your door frame and is made to reduce condensation and prevent frost build-up. Belle Duchene, Better Homes & Gardens, 17 Nov. 2022 Case in point: The driver’s seat remained super comfortable during longer road trips while holding me in tight during spirited drives. Matt Crisara, Popular Mechanics, 15 Nov. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tight.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

Etymology

Adjective

Middle English tiht, thyht dense, solid, watertight, of Scandinavian origin; akin to Old Norse thēttr tight; akin to Middle High German dīhte thick, Sanskrit tanakti it causes to coagulate

First Known Use

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Adverb

1680, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of tight was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near tight

Cite this Entry

“Tight.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tight. Accessed 1 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

tight 1 of 2

adjective

1
: so close in structure as not to allow something (as liquid, gas, or light) to pass through
a tight roof
2
a
: fixed very firmly in place
loosen a tight jar cover
b
: not slack or loose
kept the rope tight
a tight knot
c
: fitting too closely
tight shoes
3
: difficult to get through or out of
in a tight spot
on a tight schedule
4
a
: firm in control
kept a tight hand on affairs
5
: very closely packed or compressed
a tight bale of hay
6
: low in supply : scarce
money is tight just now
tightly adverb
tightness noun

tight

2 of 2

adverb

1
a
: in a tight manner
hold on tight
b
: so as to be tight
shut the door tight
wound the spring tight
2
: in a deep and uninterrupted manner : soundly
sleep tight

More from Merriam-Webster on tight

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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