9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[uhp-tahyt] /ˈʌpˈtaɪt/
adjective, Slang.
tense, nervous, or jittery.
annoyed or angry.
stiffly conventional in manner or attitudes.
Origin of uptight
1960-65, Americanism; up (perhaps as intensifier) + tight
Related forms
uptightness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for uptight
  • If you're frantic and uptight, they can make things easier.
  • Everyone gets so uptight, but you might as well enjoy it when you're there.
  • It is often perceived as uptight and reactionary, mainly because its function is to uphold existing law.
  • The other reps are so uptight and tense they don't even talk to one another.
  • Don't be so uptight you miss the fun while you're working and learning.
  • She was a lot more uptight doing it at that time because she wasn't sure what was going to happen.
  • Are you seriously gonna get so uptight bc the post didnt give you an exact play by play of the incidents.
  • His uptight, upright background has not prepared him for their easy-going deviousness.
  • Probation officers are kind of uptight, they're mission is to make you fail.
British Dictionary definitions for uptight


adjective (informal)
displaying tense repressed nervousness, irritability, or anger
unable to give expression to one's feelings, personality, etc
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 uptight

"tense," slang, 1934, from up + tight. Meaning "straight-laced" first recorded 1969. It was used in a sense of "excellent" in jazz slang c.1962.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for uptight

up the wall

adjective phrase

Crazy; wild; nutty: It doesn't drive us crazy. At least, I don't know anybody who is up the wall about it

Related Terms

drive someone up the wall

[1951+; fr the image of insane persons, frantic and deprived drug addicts, wild animals, etc, trying to climb a wall to escape]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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