adjective, taut·er, taut·est.

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 formstaut·ly, adverbtaut·ness, nounun·taut, adjectiveun·taut·ly, adverbun·taut·ness, noun
Can be confusedtaught taut taunt

Synonyms for taut

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for tautness

Historical Examples of tautness

  • 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



tightly stretched; tense
showing nervous strain; stressed
mainly nautical in good order; neat
Derived Formstautly, adverbtautness, noun

Word Origin for taut

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



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