Definition of tuck in English:



  • 1[with object and usually with adverbial of place] Push, fold, or turn (the edges or ends of something, especially a garment or bedclothes) so as to hide or secure them.

    ‘he tucked his shirt into his trousers’
    • ‘I finished, tucking the end of the gauze into the side opposite the bandaged wound.’
    • ‘She then grabbed a sheet and began spreading it over the unmade bed, tucking the ends underneath the mattress as she went.’
    • ‘Place a slice of prosciutto over the leaves and tuck both ends underneath.’
    • ‘He gripped the coverlet, and pulled it over Sarah's frail body, tucking the ends in under her elbows.’
    • ‘When she was done she tucked the end in the top of the bandages.’
    • ‘She slid on her boots and laced them up, making sure to tuck the ends of her pants into them.’
    • ‘She pulled the blankets tighter over her head, tucking the ends underneath herself to form a cocoon, to block out the noise.’
    • ‘After he buckled the strap around his chin, he wrapped the scarf around his throat, then across his mouth and nose, finally tucking the ends inside his collar.’
    • ‘Using pliers, tuck the wire ends into the button.’
    • ‘By tucking the ends of the paper strips into the chicken wire holes, the first few strips will eventually stay in place.’
    • ‘Gala finished wrapping, however, and tucked the end underneath the final string of bandage.’
    • ‘Karl finished drying the plate in his hand, set it down, and tucked the end of the towel into the back of his jeans.’
    • ‘By tucking one edge of the skin over the other, the exact extent of excess skin can be defined and excised.’
    • ‘After spreading the protective fabric over the raised bed, he tucked the edges into the brackets.’
    • ‘If you have long to super long hair you can play with a basic French braid and create a variety of looks from tucking the ends of the braid underneath the braid to wrapping the leftover tail into a soft bun.’
    • ‘Holding the pasta curved side up, tuck the edges under and pinch to secure.’
    • ‘Now I tucked the ends of my trousers inside the boot so that they showed.’
    • ‘He tucked the edge of Joe's bandage into the top and smiled as Joe began to stir and moaned lightly.’
    • ‘Place the fish on top, tucking any tail ends under to make neat parcels.’
    • ‘To join the welting ends, tuck one end over the other and baste the overlap in place.’
    push, ease, insert, slip
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    1. 1.1Make someone, especially a child, comfortable in bed by pulling the edges of the bedclothes firmly under the mattress.
      ‘Emily was only too willing to be tucked up in bed by nine’
      • ‘Once upstairs, Alana led her mother to the bed and tucked her in, adjusting the pillow and leaving the remote control to the TV in her reach.’
      • ‘In her home I ate my first real Aussie meal, and during a sleep-over I experienced her mother's kindness when she came into my room at night and with gentle hands straightened the coverlet on my bed and tucked me in.’
      • ‘Ryan tucked her in, pulling the warm blankets over her.’
      • ‘Without my knowing, Terrence pulled back the silky covers of his bed and tucked me in, placing his soft lips on my forehead before leaving the room, closing the door with a soft click.’
      • ‘Thinking he had common or garden flu, his family dosed him with aspirin and tucked him up in bed.’
      • ‘Slowly he laid her down on her bed, neatly tucking her in.’
      • ‘He picked her up and brought her to his bed, tucking her in and giving her a kiss on the forehead before leaving the room.’
      • ‘I just nodded, and he lifted me into his arms and carried me up to my bed, tucking me in.’
      • ‘Then, I lied her in her clean bed and tucked her in.’
      • ‘To tuck you up in Megan's bed warmed our hearts and when I looked in to see you asleep you brought a lump to my throat.’
      • ‘Nine o'clock came around and I tucked Jenna in bed and read her ‘The Paperbag Princess.’’
      • ‘Do not worry about clearing up the children's toys until after they are tucked up in bed, unless you want to go completely mad.’
      • ‘I had the faint memory of dad coming into my room and carrying me to my bed and tucking me in but had thought I was dreaming.’
      • ‘Mrs. Holly guided the kids to bed and tucked them in.’
      • ‘Jodi staggered backwards from her sister's bed after tucking Hannah in.’
      • ‘She takes him to bed and tucks him in, so he can sleep, she does not leave his side.’
      • ‘He carefully put her down in the bed and began tucking her in.’
      • ‘He ushered her off to bed, tucking her in and kissing her goodnight.’
      • ‘She said: ‘It is difficult to imagine where a little girl should feel safer other than when she is tucked up in her bed, in her own home, with her mother nearby.’’
      • ‘Then, she carried him over to his bed and tucked him in beneath the quilts.’
      make snug, make comfortable, settle in, cover up
      put to bed
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    2. 1.2Draw (something, especially part of one's body) together into a small space.
      ‘she tucked her legs under her’
      • ‘Some traffic passed on the other side of the road, Mac tucked himself in against the car and ignored it.’
      • ‘Adrianne, still asleep on Simian had her legs tucked loosely together.’
      • ‘A white shape flapped in the moonlight and she dove, wings tucked tight to her side.’
      • ‘She crouched down and tucked herself into her knees, eyes just over the top.’
      • ‘I was watching one earlier today, standing with one leg tucked up to his body and head shrunk into his shoulders, long ribbony wing feathers fluttering in the wind.’
      • ‘Fanny paced the royal audience chamber, her wings tucked tightly together behind her back.’
      • ‘She tucked herself into a ball as she hit the floor and rolled out of harms way just as he tried to land another blow.’
      • ‘Stretching into the vertical space, their bodies explode into the air, legs tucked underneath them.’
      • ‘I've noticed that sheep sleep upright with their legs tucked under their bodies unless they're poorly in which case they lie on their sides with legs stretched out.’
      • ‘She made herself comfortable, tucking her legs beneath her.’
      • ‘His hands tucked themselves into his large pockets, almost as if of their own accord.’
      • ‘As he fell, he tucked his body into a roll that put all the force of his fall behind an overhand slash.’
      • ‘She tucked her body in tight and gave a quick roll, and then darkness surrounded her.’
      • ‘European wasps have jet black feelers and fly with their legs tucked under their body.’
      • ‘Joe tucked himself into a ball, and quickly rolled over to the machine gun.’
      • ‘His knees were tucked up tightly to his chest, and his head rested on them.’
      • ‘His wings rustled and spread out, then tucked themselves back in.’
    3. 1.3Put or keep (something) in a specified place so as to be hidden, secure, comfortable, or tidy.
      ‘the Colonel walked towards her, his gun tucked under his arm’
      ‘savers are turning to unit trusts as the best place to tuck away their money’
      • ‘I quickly let him go, but he wrapped his arms around me and tucked my head under his chin.’
      • ‘Immediately I lowered the gun and tucked it into the waistband of my sweat pants.’
      • ‘I looked around for Ryan's present and when I found it, I tucked it under my arm.’
      • ‘Blue approached him, took the gun, and tucked it back inside his coat.’
      • ‘Sometime while I was singing she had managed to wrap an arm around me and tucked her head under my chin.’
      • ‘She gazed at the photograph of her and her mother, which she tucked under her pillow.’
      • ‘She sat next to him and tucked herself up under his arm.’
      • ‘Interested, I tucked it under my arm and surveyed his room for a proper place to curl up and look through the book comfortably.’
      • ‘Jimmy prefers his cap guns, which he keeps tucked in his waistband.’
      • ‘A signed recall proposal kept tucked in a drawer is a constant threat to the government.’
      • ‘I gave up and reached for my flashlight that I had tucked under my pillow.’
      • ‘He paid the half-dollar for it, and then tucked it under his arm.’
      • ‘She carries a small wooden truncheon tucked up her sleeve in case her customers turn violent.’
      • ‘Jack put his arm around her and she sighed, rolled over and tucked herself in against his body.’
      • ‘In an emergency it can be tucked into the waistband.’
      • ‘Purring, the small cat tucked himself beneath her chin and soundly fell asleep.’
      • ‘She made it disappear as quickly as it had appeared, tucking it into a hidden pocket.’
      • ‘He smiled in a friendly manner, tucking his hi-tech looking gun into the belt about his waist.’
      • ‘Once his keys were safely tucked away in his pocket, he headed for the elevators.’
      • ‘The officer shoved the papers into the folder and tucked it under his arm as they continued down the beaten trail to the landing pad.’
      hide, conceal, secrete
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  • 2[with object] Make a flattened, stitched fold in (a garment or material), typically so as to shorten or tighten it, or for decoration.

    ‘the suit was pinned and tucked all over’
    pleat, gather, fold, ruffle
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  • 1A flattened, stitched fold in a garment or material, typically one of several parallel folds put in to improve the fit or for decoration.

    ‘a dress with tucks along the bodice’
    • ‘Her eyes drifted to two of the freewomen with their long braided hair and brightly colored gowns with intricate tucks and folds draping in soft folds about them.’
    • ‘A stitched-slit tuck for the fabric back strap gives the cap a clean look.’
    • ‘For formal occasions they wear a long shirt, often decorated with tucks and embroidery, over a dressy wrap, shoes, and a hat.’
    • ‘Gathers, pleats and soft tucks are preferable to dart shaping.’
    • ‘Stitch tucks before measuring and cutting the fabric length.’
    • ‘If the sleeve had pleats or tucks for shaping over the cap, you have marked those lines in Step 2.’
    • ‘Men generally wear trousers and sport shirts or guayaberas - dress shirts with decorative tucks worn outside the belt in place of a jacket.’
    • ‘Wrong sides together, pin all darts, tucks and seams as you did in the tissue, placing pins accurately along the stitching lines.’
    • ‘Avoid surface manipulations such as gathers, pleats, tucks and darts.’
    • ‘If this creates excess tissue in the front neckline, tuck it out across the upper-bust, tapering the tuck to nothing at the armhole seam.’
    • ‘Fold the pintucked and embellished yardage along the center back tuck and cut out the garment back, aligning the tuck with the foldline placement.’
    • ‘Non-Brahman women wear a shorter sari, without the tuck.’
    • ‘Small tucks or soft gathers can accomplish the same thing.’
    • ‘The idea is to complement a window's architectural style with innovative folds, fanciful tucks, or simple pleats set one behind the other.’
    • ‘There were tucks and folds and frills and bows and lace and rhinestones and embroidery and ribbons all over it.’
    • ‘Mild Red stayed true to its trademark of uneven necklines and hemlines, idiosyncratic tucks and darting and the mixed media of wools and wovens’
    pleat, gather, fold, ruffle
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    1. 1.1informal [usually with modifier]A surgical operation to reduce surplus flesh or fat.
      ‘a tummy tuck’
      • ‘USA Today reports that more and more men are trying to turn back the clock with cosmetic nips and tucks.’
      • ‘I mean, everyone knows somebody who has had a little nip or a little tuck.’
      • ‘Could sagging breasts be fixed, not with a nip or a tuck, but with an injection of Botox?’
      • ‘That may be so, but why should someone suffer from society's slights if she can overcome them with a nip here and a tuck there?’
      • ‘When it comes to ageing, we're in denial - hence the desperate makeovers to shave away the years with botox, liposuction, cosmetic dentistry, nips and tucks.’
  • 2British dated, informal [mass noun] Food eaten by children at school as a snack.

    ‘our parents provided us with a bit of money to buy tuck with’
    [as modifier] ‘they send me a tuck box every month’
    • ‘Edinburgh primary schools, for instance, have subsidised tuck shops selling fruit instead of crisps and chocolate.’
    • ‘The tuck shop, coffee bar and, as the evening cooled, the licensed bar proved very popular.’
    • ‘Great ideas for tuck shop replacement include fruit cones, fruit kebabs, plain popcorn, fruit flapjack and smoothies.’
    • ‘The Nutrition in Schools Bill, expected to be published within weeks, will give ministers powers to ban unhealthy foods from school tuck shops and canteens.’
    • ‘The tuck shop is run by our senior management team, and staffed by them and other teacher and prefect volunteers.’
    • ‘One idea they are already keen to push is to work with schools to develop food policies, run healthy tuck shops and teach both pupils and staff more about how to eat a healthy balanced diet.’
    • ‘If a teacher wanted to come and work here, there's also healthy food in the tuck shop, like apples and yoghurts.’
    • ‘The new cards will also be used as ‘electronic purses’, meaning that money may be loaded and stored on the card and used in school canteens and cashless tuck shops.’
    • ‘During the week there was a poster contest, a healthy food cook-off, and deliciously healthy snacks in the school tuck shop.’
    • ‘All I was saying was that school tuck shops shouldn't be undermining choices parents make for their own children.’
    • ‘The projects being piloted in 500 schools across the country include a crackdown on unhealthy foods in school tuck shops and vending machines.’
    • ‘One friend was so relieved that all her O-level exams were finished that she went to the school tuck shop, bought 12 caramel wafers and proceeded to eat them all, one after the other.’
    • ‘Attendance is free of charge, but children need to bring their own lunch or buy it from the centre's tuck shop.’
    • ‘It would be better to provide more education on dental health in schools and to scrap school tuck shops that encourage unhealthy snacks.’
    • ‘Schools should introduce a blanket ban on all unhealthy foods and control stock in tuck shops.’
    • ‘Thousands of free apples and oranges will be handed out each day as the government urges in-school tuck shops to serve healthier snacks.’
    • ‘The tuck shop didn't open in the morning, only at lunchtime.’
    • ‘Across the country, 500 schools will pioneer ideas including healthy-eating tuck shops and improvements to the nutritional content of meals.’
    • ‘Its flavour brought back memories of my education and the school tuck shop!’
    • ‘Children can buy a 10p tuck shop fruit token from teachers, and the council is providing fruit twice a week to children receiving free school meals.’
  • 3(in diving, gymnastics, downhill skiing, etc.) a position with the knees bent and held close to the chest, often with the hands clasped round the shins.

    ‘Lenzi nailed a reverse 3–1/2 somersault tuck on his final dive’
    • ‘She dived out the window and went into a tuck and roll position.’
    • ‘The quadriceps - the muscles on the fronts of the thighs - are strengthened both from the sustained isometric contraction while gliding in a tuck position and from the repeated contractions and extensions of stroking.’
    • ‘A tuck, three somersaults through the air, and she vaults into the hands of her husband.’
    • ‘A downhill tuck lets you slice through the wind, maintaining speed while you recover from the climb.’
    • ‘If the hill isn't fast enough for you, you can even use a tuck position like a downhill ski racer!’
    • ‘The tighter the tuck and the more velocity you have going into the wall, the quicker the turn will be.’
    • ‘Let's remember, for example, how much talk there was during the early 1970s when Olga Korbut performed the backward somersault in tuck position on the beam.’
    • ‘I might have to touch my toes in mid-air or do tucks and other stunts.’
    • ‘The low boot cuff allows you to maintain the tuck position longer and with less effort.’
    • ‘The Venturi is designed to have a better field of vision in a tuck position.’
    • ‘Increased momentum forces a fast tuck and tight flip turn, and to quickly reassume streamline position as swimmer pushes off wall.’
    • ‘Be sure to quickly bring your heels up to your rear in a tight tuck.’
    • ‘Previous pairs I've tested have a restricted forward view when I'm in a tuck position.’
    • ‘As soon as he touches, he begins to draw up his legs into a tight tuck (notice that he stays horizontal as he does this).’
    • ‘But when he opened his eyes, Jacobs, in a powerful jerk, had thrust herself frontwards to perform a forward tuck.’
    • ‘Work up to a moderate steady skate at 65% - 75% max, pushing off with more force and range of motion and driving your arms forward instead of side to side while in a tuck position.’
    • ‘I folded myself down into an aerodynamic tuck and thundered down the hill.’
    • ‘I think it's cool that you can do back tucks and handsprings and all that.’
    • ‘She nailed her front tuck and stuck her double back dismount.’
    • ‘He attempts to do a tuck and roll - and falls flat on his face.’

Phrasal Verbs

  • tuck something away

    • 1Store something in a secure place.

      ‘employees can tuck away a percentage of their pretax salary’
      hide, conceal, keep out of sight, keep hidden, secrete
      screen, cover, obscure, block out, blot out, disguise, camouflage, mask, cloak, mantle, shroud
      put aside, lay by, put by, lay aside, set aside, put to one side, reserve, keep in reserve, deposit, keep, store, stockpile, hoard, stow away, cache
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      1. 1.1Be located in an inconspicuous or concealed place.
        ‘the police station was tucked away in a square behind the main street’
        • ‘A more formal statue of Jenner is tucked away in one of the more quiet areas of Hyde Park in London.’
        • ‘The Cimetière de Laval is tucked away on the Chemin Bas St-François, a bucolic, sober field far away from the traffic and noise of the city across the river.’
        • ‘The hotel is tucked away from the coast up a hill, though it also maintains its own separate seafront complete with a pier, bar and some stagey awnings.’
        • ‘The Hotel Bel Air is tucked away off the main drag and is even more exclusive than its neighbour.’
        • ‘This bijou design hotel near the Costa Smerelda is tucked away at the end of a beach road in Conca Verde, a smattering of smart villas on the protected Coluccia peninsula on Sardinia's stunning north coast.’
        • ‘Built around the 1940s Mill House, at Barrowford is tucked away behind a mature tree lined avenue that offers privacy and seclusion to the property.’
        • ‘The Hotel du Vin is tucked away in one of the small streets, just a short stroll from the seafront.’
        • ‘The Naval cemetery on Gibraltar is tucked away in a corner, it looks slightly forlorn and overgrown but has had some work done to it recently, probably due to the surge of interest in the 200th anniversary of the battle of Trafalgar.’
        • ‘The Media Collection is tucked away on the fifth floor, surrounded on three sides by the ocean of print that comprises the upper half of the library.’
        • ‘Stacks of felt by Joseph Beuys and installation pieces in dirt, gravel, mirror and glass by Robert Smithson are tucked away in corners.’
        hide, conceal, keep out of sight, keep hidden, secrete
        screen, cover, obscure, block out, blot out, disguise, camouflage, mask, cloak, mantle, shroud
        put aside, lay by, put by, lay aside, set aside, put to one side, reserve, keep in reserve, deposit, keep, store, stockpile, hoard, stow away, cache
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    • 2Eat a lot of food.

      ‘Sammy managed to tuck away everything his father couldn't eat’
      consume, devour, ingest, partake of, gobble, gobble down, gobble up, cram down
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  • tuck in (or into)

    • Eat food heartily.

      ‘I tucked into the bacon and eggs’
      • ‘She is keen to get children as young as possible tucking into healthier food.’
      • ‘While not being a fan of particularly spicy food, I tucked into the Lamb with relish.’
      • ‘After the formal speeches were finished we were all supposed to tuck in to the food and drink.’
      • ‘Stalls selling tasty hot dogs, burgers, chips, lollipops and candyfloss ensured everyone had the chance to tuck into their favourite food on the night.’
      • ‘They also tucked into different foods, including a Caribbean Feast, which was cooked by some of the parents.’
      • ‘And after seven years of liquid food, Jack is tucking into foods that for years he could only dream of.’
      • ‘Thirty children tucked into food, enjoyed the bouncy castle and had a visit from Father Christmas!’
      • ‘And, like all good travellers, it's good to tuck into some real food at your journey's end.’
      • ‘They tucked into a range of foods from the American hotdog and Italian pizza to Thai stir fry and Indian kebab.’
      • ‘Lauren giggles as she begins to tuck into her food.’
      eat heartily, devour, consume, gobble up, wolf down
      get stuck into, dig in, dig into, dispose of, polish off, get outside of, put away, pack away, shovel down, get one's laughing gear round
      shift, gollop
      scarf, scarf down, scarf up, snarf, snarf down, snarf up, inhale
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Old English tūcian ‘to punish, ill-treat’: of West Germanic origin; related to tug. Influenced in Middle English by Middle Dutch tucken pull sharply.