Definition of tighten in US English:



  • Make or become tight or tighter.

    with object ‘tighten the bolts’
    no object ‘the revenue laws were tightening up’
    • ‘An analyst said the company should lay off more staff in order to tighten cost control.’
    • ‘His arms around her waist tightened as he moved her more snugly against him.’
    • ‘He tightens his arm around my shoulder, and we just sit, leaving each to our own thoughts and memories.’
    • ‘As the boa constrictor tightens its grip our feelings of euphoria will grow as our power to transact on our own account diminishes.’
    • ‘Thus the screw tightens for those who dare hesitate to embrace this circular truth.’
    • ‘Attracting quality role models is proving more difficult as the purse strings are tightened.’
    • ‘There are also proposals to tighten controls on visitors from the Caribbean and the Balkans.’
    • ‘I understand, obviously, that the country has had to tighten up its security controls.’
    • ‘They'll be tightening the border control, if not slamming the borders completely shut.’
    • ‘Those of us in the know would attend lessons with a screwdriver, tightening or loosening screws as necessary.’
    • ‘However, even if the country tightens controls in this area, minors can still ask adult friends to buy them.’
    • ‘Victoria had her high heels on and was asking around for pliers to tighten up the screws on her heel.’
    • ‘His fingers tightened around my arm, and he brought his face close to mine.’
    • ‘Ken came back with the security guard and examined the wheel and tightened up the screws and made me safe enough to move.’
    • ‘In Germany, Italy and Belgium, tests are under way to see if the treatment can be used to tighten the upper arms.’
    • ‘He suddenly took a step closer to me, his hands tightening on my arms.’
    • ‘Nor will the administrators of these establishments be pushing drugs in order to tighten control.’
    • ‘Matt tightens his arm around his girlfriend and glares at Bryan stonily.’
    • ‘I can feel him come back to reality and he tightens his arms around me.’
    • ‘It was immediately quelled as his iron grip on her arm began to tighten.’
    secure, make fast, make more secure, screw up, give an extra turn to
    strengthen, make stronger, reinforce, harden, consolidate
    tauten, draw taut, make taut, draw tight, make tight, stretch, strain, extend, make rigid, rigidify, stiffen, tense
    narrow, become narrow, become narrower, become tight, become tighter, become pinched
    increase, make stricter, make more rigorous, make more stringent, make more rigid, stiffen, toughen, toughen up, heighten, escalate, scale up
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