adjective, tight·er, tight·est.

  1. firmly or closely fixed in place; not easily moved; secure: a tight knot.
  2. drawn or stretched so as to be tense; taut.
  3. affording little or no extra room; fitting closely, especially too closely: a tight collar.
  4. difficult to deal with or manage: to be in a tight situation.
  5. of such close or compacted texture, or fitted together so closely, as to be impervious to water, air, steam, etc.: a good, tight roof.
  6. concise; terse: a tight style of writing.
  7. firm; rigid: his tight control of the company.
  8. carefully arranged or organized and full; affording little leeway; compact: a tight schedule.
  9. nearly even; close: a tight race.
  10. Informal.
    1. close, as friends; familiar or intimate.
    2. united: The strikers are tight in their refusal to accept the proposed contract.
  11. parsimonious; stingy.
  12. Slang. amazing; cool: Your new place is tight!
  13. Older Slang. drunk; tipsy.
  14. characterized by scarcity or eager demand; costly; limited; restricted: a tight job market; tight money.
  15. Journalism. (of a newspaper) having more news available than is required for or utilizable in a particular issue.
  16. Baseball. inside(def 18).
  17. Scot. and North England. competent or skillful.
  18. tidy.
  19. neatly or well built or made.

adverb, tight·er, tight·est.

  1. in a tight manner; closely; firmly; securely; tensely: Shut the door tight. The shirt fit tight across the shoulders.
  2. soundly or deeply: to sleep tight.


  1. sit tight, to take no action.


  1. stretched or drawn so as not to be loose; tauta tight cord
  2. fitting or covering in a close mannera tight dress
  3. held, made, fixed, or closed firmly and securelya tight knot
    1. of close and compact construction or organization, esp so as to be impervious to water, air, etc
    2. (in combination)watertight; airtight
  4. unyielding or stringentto keep a tight hold on resources
  5. cramped or constricteda tight fit
  6. mean or miserly
  7. difficult and problematica tight situation
  8. hardly profitablea tight bargain
  9. economics
    1. (of a commodity) difficult to obtain; in excess demand
    2. (of funds, money, etc) difficult and expensive to borrow because of high demand or restrictive monetary policy
    3. (of markets) characterized by excess demand or scarcity with prices tending to riseCompare easy (def. 8)
  10. (of a match or game) very close or even
  11. (of a team or group, esp of a pop group) playing well together, in a disciplined coordinated way
  12. informal drunk
  13. informal (of a person) showing tension
  14. archaic, or dialect neat


  1. in a close, firm, or secure waypull it tight
  2. sit tight
    1. to wait patiently; bide one’s time
    2. to maintain one’s position, stand, or opinion firmly
  3. sleep tight to sleep soundly

adj.mid-15c., “dense, close, compact,” from Middle English thight, from Old Norse þettr “watertight, close in texture, solid,” from Proto-Germanic *thenkhtuz (cf. second element in Old English meteþiht “stout from eating;” Middle High German dihte “dense, thick,” German dicht “dense, tight,” Old High German gidigan, German gediegen “genuine, solid, worthy”), from PIE root *tenk- “to become firm, curdle, thicken” (cf. Irish techt “curdled, coagulated,” Lithuanian tankus “close, tight,” Persian tang “tight,” Sanskrit tanakti “draws together, contracts”). Sense of “drawn, stretched” is from 1570s; meaning “fitting closely” (as of garments) is from 1779; that of “evenly matched” (of a contest, bargain, etc.) is from 1828, American English; that of “drunk” is from 1830; that of “close, sympathetic” is from 1956. Tight-assed “unwilling to relax” is attested from 1903. Tight-laced is recorded from 1741 in both the literal and figurative senses. Tight-lipped is first attested 1876. In addition to the idioms beginning with tight

  • tight as a drum
  • tight as a tick
  • tighten one’s belt
  • tighten the screws
  • tight rein on, a
  • tight ship
  • tight spot
  • tight squeeze
  • also see:

  • in a bind (tight corner)
  • sit tight
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