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[tawt] /tɔt/
adjective, tauter, tautest.
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 forms
tautly, adverb
tautness, noun
untaut, adjective
untautly, adverb
untautness, noun
Can be confused
taught, taut, taunt.
3. trim, trig, spruce, smart. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for taut
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • His slack, nervy figure needed but a word to make it taut as steel.

    Barbara Lynn Emily J. Jenkinson
  • Harriett saw his stoop, and the taut, braced power of his back as he lifted.

  • She saw his mouth pulled open by the taut cords of his neck, and the gaping, silent scream was more terrible than any sound.

    Planet of the Damned Harry Harrison
  • taut, now, the quivering lines; now slack; and so, let her go!

    Poems William D. Howells
  • Jerry now pulled at the other end of the rope, to hold it taut, while the others were scrambling ashore.

British Dictionary definitions for taut


tightly stretched; tense
showing nervous strain; stressed
(mainly nautical) in good order; neat
Derived Forms
tautly, adverb
tautness, noun
Word Origin
C14 tought; probably related to Old English togian to tow1
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
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Word Origin and History for taut

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
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