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Origin of tighten

First recorded in 1720–30; tight + -en1
Related formstight·en·er, nouno·ver·tight·en, verbre·tight·en, verbself-tight·en·ing, adjectiveun·tight·en, verb (used with object)

Synonyms for tighten

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

Examples from the Web for tightened

Contemporary Examples of tightened

Historical Examples of tightened

  • Light and buoyant as the child was, her tightened clasp had begun to tell on him.


    Thomas Wentworth Higginson

  • For in the morning the reins of discipline are tightened again.

  • The tightened grasp of these four walls had taught her this.

    The Underdog

    F. Hopkinson Smith

  • Then he tightened his grasp on it, like one putting the devil behind him.

    Meadow Grass

    Alice Brown

  • She struggled weakly to free herself, and his clasp only tightened jealously.

    Good Indian

    B. M. Bower

British Dictionary definitions for tightened


  1. to make or become tight or tighter
  2. tighten one's belt to economize
Derived Formstightener, noun
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 tightened



"to make tight," 1727; the earlier verb was simply tight, from Old English tyhtan, from the root of tight. Related: Tightened; tightening.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper