speaking very little; taciturn; close-mouthed.
having the lips drawn tight.

Origin of tight-lipped

First recorded in 1875–80
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for tight-lipped

Contemporary Examples of tight-lipped

Historical Examples of tight-lipped

  • To them all he was a closed book, tight-lipped, a mask of brooding care.

    The Prisoner

    Alice Brown

  • It was the face of a Roman mother, tight-lipped, brown-eyed, and fierce.


    Joseph Conrad and F.M. Hueffer

  • He found Jake and Coffin in tight-lipped conference when he reached the lab.

    The Coffin Cure

    Alan Edward Nourse

  • Tense and tight-lipped Mryna Brill slipped aboard the god-car.

    The Guardians

    Irving Cox

  • In a tight-lipped rage he issued a proclamation and sent it after them.

British Dictionary definitions for tight-lipped



reticent, secretive, or taciturn
with the lips pressed tightly together, as through anger
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