Definition of taut in US English:



  • 1Stretched or pulled tight; not slack.

    ‘the fabric stays taut without adhesive’
    • ‘The next one on the thrill list is the catapult: you are attached to a rope that is stretched taut and then released.’
    • ‘Of course, the sun's rays were needed to make the mulberry paper taut and fully stretched.’
    • ‘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 forests were low, and the land stretched tight like taut buffalo skin.’
    • ‘The wind whipped at her skirt pulling the material taut across her calves and thighs, outlining her shape as the marble of a statue.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Pull the knot taut, close to your head, and wrap the ends around the bun, securing with pins.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘On the stage a white sheet, stretched taut over several room dividers, served as a screen.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Note: the under the coat method adds stability but the weight of the coat pulls the scarf taut and threatens asphyxiation.’
    • ‘Above a carefully cut animal skin, an arc of wood is stretched taut by a rope.’
    • ‘Then you do a final stitch way into the wadding, pull the thread taut and clip the end just above the surface.’
    • ‘Thankfully an eardrum is a flexible tissue stretched taut over the inner ear.’
    • ‘Its bagginess on the scrawny Pope's shoulders contrasts with the taut, nailed-down stretch of the upholstered velvet of his chair.’
    • ‘Hempshaw was like a rope stretched taut with a full grown steer pulling at it.’
    • ‘The aerial is stretched taut over the back of the sofa towards the TV.’
    tight, tightly stretched, stretched, rigid, stressed, not slack, not loose
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 (especially of muscles or nerves) tense; not relaxed.
      ‘my voice was taut with anger’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I recommend a day by the waves to anyone who's fraying their last taut nerve.’
      • ‘Normally, at times likes these, Montgomerie's nerves are so taut that it would be possible to play a guitar solo on them.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Nerves were taut and bodies turned and twisted under the scratchy blankets.’
      • ‘It started with a back massage that loosened up my taut muscles and prepared me for the ultimate indulgence of letting go.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She is a handsome woman - thin lips, taut facial muscles - who never lost her poise at her husband's funeral.’
      • ‘As we cross each intersection, our nerves are taut with anxiety, not knowing who or what is down the next street.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘My eyes were tight shut but streaming tears, and I felt my face set into taut muscles and tense lines.’
      • ‘Relaxing his taut muscles and his wary expression, Sean sighed and gave her what he hoped to be a somewhat friendly look.’
      • ‘He said it was tense on board, people were jumpy and nerves were taut.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Therapeutic massage may also loosen taut muscles and calm frazzled nerves.’
      • ‘His strong hands rested on her shoulders and began working the taut muscles, causing her to immediately tense.’
      • ‘The Viking's huge muscles were nearly as taut as the bowstring itself as he strained in bringing it back into firing position.’
      flexed, tensed, tightened, hard, solid, firm, rigid, stiff, unyielding
      fraught, strained, stressed, tense, drawn, drained, sapped, fatigued, tired
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 (of writing, music, etc.) concise and controlled.
      ‘a taut text of only a hundred and twenty pages’
      • ‘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 subject matter of the novel, which is written in a taut, controlled, colloquial yet poetic prose, is highly autobiographical.’
      • ‘Director Ryan Redford skilfully employs music, sound and montage to create a taut film.’
      • ‘The dances are exotic, taut, unusual and unpredictable but entirely controlled and elegant, sleek, streamlined.’
      • ‘Ellis' script is taut, sharp and resonant, like piano wire.’
      • ‘At times his writing seems more like taut, elegant journalism than literary fiction.’
      • ‘It is a superb piece of writing, and under Ross Manson's taut direction, Volcano gives it a thrilling production.’
      • ‘Greatly influenced by DC hardcore forebears like Fugazi, QANU's music bristled with taut, pointed rhythms and impassioned verse.’
      • ‘It was tough, tight and ultimately taut with tension throughout with neither side willing to risk anything.’
      • ‘With her taut writing, she never once fails to convey the emotional intensity of her characters' lives.’
      • ‘Shot in a realistic mode inspired by the agitprop classic The Battle of Algiers, Bloody Sunday is taut, terse and livid.’
      • ‘But for the most part the music is taut, suffused with a ragged but determined power that has few equals among their contemporaries.’
      • ‘A taut screenplay, tight editing and, overall, a theme which takes off from real life, are what our films lack today.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The navigation is taut and the controls make perfect sense.’
      • ‘The film is taut and compact, and roughly a third of it plays out inside the cab as Max and Vincent traverse the city.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Some judicious editorial pruning would have made the novel less uneven and the text more taut.’
      concise, controlled, crisp, pithy, sharp, succinct, compact, terse
      View synonyms
    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
      View synonyms


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