Definition of taut in English:



  • 1Stretched or pulled tight; not slack.

    ‘the fabric stays taut without adhesive’
    • ‘Above a carefully cut animal skin, an arc of wood is stretched taut by a rope.’
    • ‘On the stage a white sheet, stretched taut over several room dividers, served as a screen.’
    • ‘In the rains it is stretched taut like an elastic band about to snap.’
    • ‘The other hand must act as a co-pilot; use it to pull the skin taut and stretched.’
    • ‘It's the kind that gets to looking like a huge green bubble of taut membrane, stretched to the limit, with redness that radiates outward.’
    • ‘Of course, the sun's rays were needed to make the mulberry paper taut and fully stretched.’
    • ‘Hempshaw was like a rope stretched taut with a full grown steer pulling at it.’
    • ‘Thankfully an eardrum is a flexible tissue stretched taut over the inner ear.’
    • ‘Note: the under the coat method adds stability but the weight of the coat pulls the scarf taut and threatens asphyxiation.’
    • ‘The wind whipped at her skirt pulling the material taut across her calves and thighs, outlining her shape as the marble of a statue.’
    • ‘The forests were low, and the land stretched tight like taut buffalo skin.’
    • ‘They would dance towards each other, each holding a sheet end, then back away, pulling the sheet taut between them, then advance again, and so on.’
    • ‘Another piece, In Other Circumstances, consists of three immense curtains made of white paper squares joined with fishing gut, and stretched taut between floor and ceiling.’
    • ‘The aerial is stretched taut over the back of the sofa towards the TV.’
    • ‘Then the glue was applied to the bottom EPS foam strip and gently pulled taut and glued into place allowing the cut strips to stretch suspended over the black background.’
    • ‘Then you do a final stitch way into the wadding, pull the thread taut and clip the end just above the surface.’
    • ‘If he has chosen the vines well, they will pull taut and stretch like a natural bungee cord, just enough to gently arrest his fall.’
    • ‘Its bagginess on the scrawny Pope's shoulders contrasts with the taut, nailed-down stretch of the upholstered velvet of his chair.’
    • ‘The next one on the thrill list is the catapult: you are attached to a rope that is stretched taut and then released.’
    • ‘Pull the knot taut, close to your head, and wrap the ends around the bun, securing with pins.’
    tight, tightly stretched, stretched, rigid, stressed, not slack, not loose
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 (especially of muscles or nerves) tense; not relaxed.
      • ‘Relaxing his taut muscles and his wary expression, Sean sighed and gave her what he hoped to be a somewhat friendly look.’
      • ‘Therapeutic massage may also loosen taut muscles and calm frazzled nerves.’
      • ‘My eyes were tight shut but streaming tears, and I felt my face set into taut muscles and tense lines.’
      • ‘The taut muscles of his face have relaxed, and he speaks with a confidence that is inspiring.’
      • ‘As we cross each intersection, our nerves are taut with anxiety, not knowing who or what is down the next street.’
      • ‘He said it was tense on board, people were jumpy and nerves were taut.’
      • ‘The Viking's huge muscles were nearly as taut as the bowstring itself as he strained in bringing it back into firing position.’
      • ‘It had great muscular arms, and powerful legs supported a thick body covered with taut muscle.’
      • ‘The fledgling's breathing and heartbeat slowed, taut muscles went slack, and his third eyelids slid halfway across his bright gaze.’
      • ‘The ad starts off by focusing on the taut abs of three pretty ladies.’
      • ‘Trigger points are discrete, focal, hyperirritable spots located in a taut band of skeletal muscle.’
      • ‘Royal Ballet star Ivan Putrov will be suspended on wires above a string quartet playing Tchaikovsky for a whole nine minutes while the audience gasp and marvel at those taut muscles and lean limbs.’
      • ‘And so he made his way to the bench in where he sat down and relaxed his taut muscles.’
      • ‘It started with a back massage that loosened up my taut muscles and prepared me for the ultimate indulgence of letting go.’
      • ‘I recommend a day by the waves to anyone who's fraying their last taut nerve.’
      • ‘She's convinced that no matter how hard she works out, the skin that covers her taut biceps is growing daily more slack and wrinkly.’
      • ‘Normally, at times likes these, Montgomerie's nerves are so taut that it would be possible to play a guitar solo on them.’
      • ‘She is a handsome woman - thin lips, taut facial muscles - who never lost her poise at her husband's funeral.’
      • ‘His strong hands rested on her shoulders and began working the taut muscles, causing her to immediately tense.’
      • ‘Nerves were taut and bodies turned and twisted under the scratchy blankets.’
      flexed, tensed, tightened, hard, solid, firm, rigid, stiff, unyielding
      fraught, strained, stressed, tense, drawn, drained, sapped, fatigued, tired
      View synonyms
  • 2(of writing, music, etc.) concise and controlled.

    ‘a taut text of only a hundred and twenty pages’
    • ‘The film is taut and compact, and roughly a third of it plays out inside the cab as Max and Vincent traverse the city.’
    • ‘The dances are exotic, taut, unusual and unpredictable but entirely controlled and elegant, sleek, streamlined.’
    • ‘At times his writing seems more like taut, elegant journalism than literary fiction.’
    • ‘The subject matter of the novel, which is written in a taut, controlled, colloquial yet poetic prose, is highly autobiographical.’
    • ‘Ellis' script is taut, sharp and resonant, like piano wire.’
    • ‘A taut screenplay, tight editing and, overall, a theme which takes off from real life, are what our films lack today.’
    • ‘Director Ryan Redford skilfully employs music, sound and montage to create a taut film.’
    • ‘It translates in 2005 because this corner of music was always about nostalgia and taut drama constructed with tightly circumscribed language.’
    • ‘The writing is taut; but it reads like a boring history textbook in places.’
    • ‘It is a superb piece of writing, and under Ross Manson's taut direction, Volcano gives it a thrilling production.’
    • ‘But for the most part the music is taut, suffused with a ragged but determined power that has few equals among their contemporaries.’
    • ‘In no time at all you'll be able to produce lots of taut, pertinent, orthographically enhanced web text, and all with only one hand.’
    • ‘Shot in a realistic mode inspired by the agitprop classic The Battle of Algiers, Bloody Sunday is taut, terse and livid.’
    • ‘With her taut writing, she never once fails to convey the emotional intensity of her characters' lives.’
    • ‘Greatly influenced by DC hardcore forebears like Fugazi, QANU's music bristled with taut, pointed rhythms and impassioned verse.’
    • ‘Some judicious editorial pruning would have made the novel less uneven and the text more taut.’
    • ‘All of which adds up to superb straight line stability, taut handling through curves, improved roll control and a prodigious ability to soak up bumps and smooth out potholes.’
    • ‘Though there's plenty of brutal, taut music to be found on the record, more often than not, it's filmic, evocative, and remarkably organic.’
    • ‘It was tough, tight and ultimately taut with tension throughout with neither side willing to risk anything.’
    • ‘The navigation is taut and the controls make perfect sense.’
    concise, controlled, crisp, pithy, sharp, succinct, compact, terse
    View synonyms
  • 3(of a ship) having a disciplined and efficient crew.

    • ‘A taut ship is a happy ship.’
    orderly, in order, in good order, in good condition, tight, trim, neat, well ordered, well regulated, well disciplined, tidy, spruce, smart, shipshape, shipshape and bristol fashion
    View synonyms


Middle English tought ‘distended’, perhaps originally a variant of tough.