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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
  • The towel needs to be fairly taut across the top of the bowl to prevent it from sagging into the water.
  • Run the wire from eyehook to eyehook, pulling as taut as possible as you go.
  • Hank slowly and tenderly grilled a slew of those venison sausages until they were shiny, taut, and on the verge of bursting.
  • In certain waves, the rope becomes alternatively slack and taut as the buoys lean toward and pull away from each other.
  • The ice looks as taut as a bedsheet in some spots, as billowy as a down comforter in others.
  • Stein had interviewed dozens of survivors, tracked down a number of original records and rendered the story in taut prose.
  • It's a taut adventure story, and weaves three plot lines smoothly together.
  • The mind must be quickened, the body exerted, the whole made taut and tense.
  • The crime procedural's taut lyricism was fiercely engaging.
  • The wound may be pale and dry, surrounded by red and taut skin, and can include an area of dead skin.
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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