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[tawt] /tɔt/
adjective, tauter, tautest.
tightly drawn; tense; not slack.
emotionally or mentally strained or tense:
taut nerves.
in good order or condition; tidy; neat.
Origin of taut
1275-1325; earlier taught, Middle English tought; akin to tow1
Related forms
tautly, adverb
tautness, noun
untaut, adjective
untautly, adverb
untautness, noun
Can be confused
taught, taut, taunt.
3. trim, trig, spruce, smart. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for tauter
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Carl's own nerves grew tauter and tauter as he saw the manager's restless foot and the mechanic's tension.

    The Trail of the Hawk Sinclair Lewis
  • Stays and braces grew tauter and tauter, studden sail-booms cracked, and the topgallant masts bent like willow wands.

    Marmaduke Merry William H. G. Kingston
  • The rope was clearly getting “tauter”; discipline was gradually assuming its sway, the circles around me smaller and smaller.

  • Every step it became tauter and tauter, until at last you might have played a tune upon it.

    Follow My leader Talbot Baines Reed
British Dictionary definitions for tauter


tightly stretched; tense
showing nervous strain; stressed
(mainly nautical) in good order; neat
Derived Forms
tautly, adverb
tautness, noun
Word Origin
C14 tought; probably related to Old English togian to tow1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for tauter



early 14c., tohte, possibly from tog-, past participle stem of Old English teon "to pull, drag," from Proto-Germanic *tugn, from PIE *deuk- "to lead" (see duke (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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