• synonyms


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


Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


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


  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 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.)).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper