Definition of taut in US English:



  • 1Stretched or pulled tight; not slack.

    ‘the fabric stays taut without adhesive’
    • ‘Then you do a final stitch way into the wadding, pull the thread taut and clip the end just above the surface.’
    • ‘Pull the knot taut, close to your head, and wrap the ends around the bun, securing with pins.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘On the stage a white sheet, stretched taut over several room dividers, served as a screen.’
    • ‘Of course, the sun's rays were needed to make the mulberry paper taut and fully stretched.’
    • ‘The aerial is stretched taut over the back of the sofa towards the TV.’
    • ‘The other hand must act as a co-pilot; use it to pull the skin taut and stretched.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The forests were low, and the land stretched tight like taut buffalo skin.’
    • ‘Its bagginess on the scrawny Pope's shoulders contrasts with the taut, nailed-down stretch of the upholstered velvet of his chair.’
    • ‘In the rains it is stretched taut like an elastic band about to snap.’
    • ‘Note: the under the coat method adds stability but the weight of the coat pulls the scarf taut and threatens asphyxiation.’
    • ‘Thankfully an eardrum is a flexible tissue stretched taut over the inner ear.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Above a carefully cut animal skin, an arc of wood is stretched taut by a rope.’
    • ‘Hempshaw was like a rope stretched taut with a full grown steer pulling at it.’
    • ‘The wind whipped at her skirt pulling the material taut across her calves and thighs, outlining her shape as the marble of a statue.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The next one on the thrill list is the catapult: you are attached to a rope that is stretched taut and then released.’
    tight, tightly stretched, stretched, rigid, stressed, not slack, not loose
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    1. 1.1 (especially of muscles or nerves) tense; not relaxed.
      ‘my voice was taut with anger’
      • ‘Nerves were taut and bodies turned and twisted under the scratchy blankets.’
      • ‘Trigger points are discrete, focal, hyperirritable spots located in a taut band of skeletal muscle.’
      • ‘The taut muscles of his face have relaxed, and he speaks with a confidence that is inspiring.’
      • ‘And so he made his way to the bench in where he sat down and relaxed his taut muscles.’
      • ‘His strong hands rested on her shoulders and began working the taut muscles, causing her to immediately tense.’
      • ‘The ad starts off by focusing on the taut abs of three pretty ladies.’
      • ‘The fledgling's breathing and heartbeat slowed, taut muscles went slack, and his third eyelids slid halfway across his bright gaze.’
      • ‘As we cross each intersection, our nerves are taut with anxiety, not knowing who or what is down the next street.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He said it was tense on board, people were jumpy and nerves were taut.’
      • ‘It started with a back massage that loosened up my taut muscles and prepared me for the ultimate indulgence of letting go.’
      • ‘Relaxing his taut muscles and his wary expression, Sean sighed and gave her what he hoped to be a somewhat friendly look.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Normally, at times likes these, Montgomerie's nerves are so taut that it would be possible to play a guitar solo on them.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She is a handsome woman - thin lips, taut facial muscles - who never lost her poise at her husband's funeral.’
      • ‘I recommend a day by the waves to anyone who's fraying their last taut nerve.’
      flexed, tensed, tightened, hard, solid, firm, rigid, stiff, unyielding
      fraught, strained, stressed, tense, drawn, drained, sapped, fatigued, tired
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    2. 1.2 (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 writing is taut; but it reads like a boring history textbook in places.’
      • ‘Director Ryan Redford skilfully employs music, sound and montage to create a taut film.’
      • ‘A taut screenplay, tight editing and, overall, a theme which takes off from real life, are what our films lack today.’
      • ‘It is a superb piece of writing, and under Ross Manson's taut direction, Volcano gives it a thrilling production.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The dances are exotic, taut, unusual and unpredictable but entirely controlled and elegant, sleek, streamlined.’
      • ‘The subject matter of the novel, which is written in a taut, controlled, colloquial yet poetic prose, is highly autobiographical.’
      • ‘But for the most part the music is taut, suffused with a ragged but determined power that has few equals among their contemporaries.’
      • ‘With her taut writing, she never once fails to convey the emotional intensity of her characters' lives.’
      • ‘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 translates in 2005 because this corner of music was always about nostalgia and taut drama constructed with tightly circumscribed language.’
      • ‘The navigation is taut and the controls make perfect sense.’
      • ‘It was tough, tight and ultimately taut with tension throughout with neither side willing to risk anything.’
      • ‘At times his writing seems more like taut, elegant journalism than literary fiction.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Greatly influenced by DC hardcore forebears like Fugazi, QANU's music bristled with taut, pointed rhythms and impassioned verse.’
      • ‘Shot in a realistic mode inspired by the agitprop classic The Battle of Algiers, Bloody Sunday is taut, terse and livid.’
      • ‘Some judicious editorial pruning would have made the novel less uneven and the text more taut.’
      • ‘Ellis' script is taut, sharp and resonant, like piano wire.’
      concise, controlled, crisp, pithy, sharp, succinct, compact, terse
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    3. 1.3 (of a ship) having a disciplined and efficient crew.
      ‘his language was salty and he ran a taut ship’
      • ‘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
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Middle English tought ‘distended’, perhaps originally a variant of tough.