tight·​en | \ ˈtī-tᵊn How to pronounce tighten (audio) \
tightened; tightening\ ˈtīt-​niŋ How to pronounce tighten (audio) , ˈtī-​tᵊn-​iŋ \

Definition of tighten

intransitive verb

: to become tight or tighter
tighten one's belt
: to practice strict economy

Other Words from tighten

tightener \ ˈtīt-​nər How to pronounce tighten (audio) , ˈtī-​tᵊn-​ər \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for tighten



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Examples of tighten in a Sentence

She tightened her hold on the handle. tighten the straps on the backpack so that the load doesn't shift while hiking
Recent Examples on the Web Russia has sought to tighten its grip on global perceptions. Washington Post, 25 Feb. 2022 Russia has sought to tighten its grip on global perceptions. Craig Timberg And Drew Harwell, Anchorage Daily News, 24 Feb. 2022 The defensive clamps Bentonville's girls put on Rogers in the second half allowed the Lady Tigers to tighten their grip on second place in the 6A-West Conference standings. Henry Apple, Arkansas Online, 19 Feb. 2022 As a president who survived two impeachment trials, Trump is following his uniquely disruptive and chaotic term in office with a determined effort to tighten his grip on the GOP and keep his supporters riled up. Michael D'antonio, CNN, 1 Jan. 2022 With little doubt as to the presidential election result, focus is already turning to what the international response will be as Ortega seeks to tighten his grip on power. NBC News, 8 Nov. 2021 To raise energy prices while enabling Moscow to tighten its grip over Europe’s energy supply is to turbocharge a Russian regime that was staggering and showing its age. Walter Russell Mead, WSJ, 18 Oct. 2021 And that two-game lead would work hand-in-hand with a stretch-run schedule that provides ASU with plenty of chances to tighten its grip on the division. oregonlive, 12 Oct. 2021 The massacre remains a controversial topic in China as Beijing continues to crack down on all challenges to its sovereignty and tighten its grip on Hong Kong. Andrew Mark Miller, Fox News, 9 Oct. 2021 See More

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

First Known Use of tighten

circa 1727, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

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Time Traveler for tighten

Time Traveler

The first known use of tighten was circa 1727

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Dictionary Entries Near tighten



tight end

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Statistics for tighten

Last Updated

9 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Tighten.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tighten. Accessed 20 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for tighten


tight·​en | \ ˈtī-tᵊn How to pronounce tighten (audio) \
tightened; tightening

Kids Definition of tighten

: to make or become tight He tightened his grip.

More from Merriam-Webster on tighten

Nglish: Translation of tighten for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of tighten for Arabic Speakers


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