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taut

[tawt]
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adjective, taut·er, taut·est.
  1. tightly drawn; tense; not slack.
  2. emotionally or mentally strained or tense: taut nerves.
  3. in good order or condition; tidy; neat.
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Origin of taut

1275–1325; earlier taught, Middle English tought; akin to tow1
Related formstaut·ly, adverbtaut·ness, nounun·taut, adjectiveun·taut·ly, adverbun·taut·ness, noun
Can be confusedtaught taut taunt

Synonyms

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3. trim, trig, spruce, smart.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for tautness

Historical Examples

  • His sudden face went from the tautness of his last speech to fear.

    Captives of the Flame

    Samuel R. Delany

  • Parish Thornton was breathing his words through lips that scarcely moved as he bent forward with the tautness of a coiled spring.

    The Roof Tree

    Charles Neville Buck

  • She felt again the muscles of his forearms snap into tautness as he stood silent under her father's insults.

    The Tyranny of Weakness

    Charles Neville Buck

  • Conscious of the tautness of his own nerves, strung like quivering violin strings.

  • To me, strung up to a tautness of sensation that almost frightens me, this silence of the Mate is horrible.

    An Ocean Tramp

    William McFee


British Dictionary definitions for tautness

taut

adjective
  1. tightly stretched; tense
  2. showing nervous strain; stressed
  3. mainly nautical in good order; neat
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Derived Formstautly, adverbtautness, noun

Word Origin

C14 tought; probably related to Old English togian to tow 1
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

Word Origin and History for tautness

taut

adj.

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.)).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper