up·​tight | \ ˈəp-ˈtīt How to pronounce uptight (audio) , (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 How to pronounce uptight (audio) \ 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 Snook hints that season 3 will see more flirtatious shenanigans between the louche Roman Roy and J. Smith-Cameron's more uptight corporate veteran Gerri. Clark Collis, EW.com, 14 Oct. 2021 An Ethiopian woman stands in front of a young boy, her left arm extended in perfectly perpendicular contrast to her uptight frame. Washington Post, 10 Sep. 2021 Attorney bios do not have to be so rigid and uptight — save that for the CV. Yec, Forbes, 31 Aug. 2021 Tapia de Veer found there was plenty of emotional depth to the story, and felt particular sympathy for Armond (Murray Bartlett), the uptight hotel manager who unravels in spectacular fashion. Meredith Blake Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 8 Aug. 2021 Glinda was played by another rising star, Kristin Chenoweth, currently appearing as uptight Mildred Layton, head of Mothers Against the Future, in Apple TV+’s hit musicals parody Schmigadoon! Manuel Mendoza, Dallas News, 3 Aug. 2021 Crossing your arms can come across as defensive, closed off, or uptight. Ashira Prossack, Forbes, 30 May 2021 The new story revolves around his son, Scott Turner, Jr., (Josh Peck) an uptight U.S. marshal, who begins looking into one of his dad’s old cases. Chris Kornelis, WSJ, 21 July 2021 Beneath the glitzy chandeliers and ornate crown moldings (leftover from the building’s past life), a provocative, diverse collection defies its uptight staging. Washington Post, 16 July 2021

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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The first known use of uptight was in 1934

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Last Updated

16 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Uptight.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/uptight. Accessed 25 Oct. 2021.

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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 How to pronounce uptight (audio) , ˌəp- \

Kids Definition of uptight

: being tense, nervous, or uneasy

More from Merriam-Webster on uptight

Nglish: Translation of uptight for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of uptight for Arabic Speakers


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