Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.


[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. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for tautly
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Leaning forward, tautly, "But how do you expect to do this?"

    The Sensitive Man Poul William Anderson
  • I have drawn the line, for example, squarely and tautly on burglars.

  • But the skin of her face and her bare upper body was a warm color, and tautly filled.

    Star Performer Robert J. Shea
  • Hunched over the throttles, peering tensely ahead, he was tautly estimating speed and direction.

  • With nerves as tautly drawn as fiddle strings, she remained very still.

    The Secret of the Storm Country Grace Miller White
  • The state of a top-sail yard when it arches in the centre from hoisting it too tautly.

    The Sailor's Word-Book William Henry Smyth
  • When the second dawn came, the Bunch were all tautly and wearily alert again, peering ahead, across dun desert.

    The Planet Strappers Raymond Zinke Gallun
  • His whole body becoming rigid; tautly holding itself with straining, shaking muscles to the position in which he lay.

British Dictionary definitions for tautly


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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for tautly



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
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for tautly

Word Value for tautly

Scrabble Words With Friends