American English

Definition of tight adjective from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    (tighter, tightest)
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  1. 1held or attached in position firmly; difficult to move or undo He kept a tight grip on her arm. She twisted her hair into a tight knot. The screw was so tight that it wouldn't move.
  2. clothes
  3. 2fitting closely to your body and sometimes uncomfortable She was wearing a tight pair of jeans. These shoes are much too tight. The new sweater was a tight fit. opposite loose see also skintight
  4. control
  5. 3very strict and firm to keep tight control over something We need tighter security at the airport.
  6. stretched
  7. 4stretched or pulled so that it cannot stretch much further The rope was stretched tight.
  8. close together
  9. 5[usually before noun] with things or people packed closely together, leaving little space between them There was a tight group of people around the speaker. With six of us in the car it was a tight squeeze.
  10. money/time
  11. 6difficult to manage with because there is not enough We have a very tight budget. The president has a tight schedule today. The deadline for finishing the project is too tight (= too soon).
  12. expression/voice
  13. 7looking or sounding anxious, upset, angry, etc. “I'm sorry,” she said, with a tight smile. see also uptight
  14. part of body
  15. 8feeling painful or uncomfortable because of illness or emotion synonym He complained of having a tight chest. Her throat felt tight, just looking at her baby.
  16. relationship
  17. 9having a close relationship with someone else or with other people It was a tight community and newcomers were not welcome. see also tight-knit
  18. bend/curve
  19. 10curving suddenly rather than gradually The driver slowed down at a tight bend in the road. The plane flew around in a tight circle.
  20. contest/race
  21. 11with runners, teams, etc. that seem to be equally good synonym close1 a tight race
  22. not generous
  23. 12(informal) (disapproving) not wanting to spend much money; not generous synonym stingy He's very tight with his money.
  24. drunk
  25. 13[not usually before noun] (old-fashioned) (informal) drunk synonym tipsy
  26. -tight
  27. 14(in compounds) not allowing the substance mentioned to enter measures to make your home weathertight see also airtight, watertight
    noun [uncountable]
  29. Idioms
    run a tight ship
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    to organize something in a very efficient way, controlling other people very closely
    a tight spot/corner
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    a very difficult or dangerous situation She'll always help if you're in a tight spot.
    to keep a tight rein on somebody/something
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    to control someone or something carefully or strictly It's essential to keep a tight rein on public spending.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: tight