Etymology: Middle English tiht, thyht dense, solid, watertight, of Scandinavian origin; akin to Old Norse thēttr tight; akin to Middle High German dīhte thick, Sanskrit tanakti it causes to coagulate
Date: 14th century
a. having elements close together <a tight formation> <a tight line of type> b. so close in structure as to prevent passage or escape (as of liquid, gas, or light) <a tight ship> <a tight seal> — compare lightproof, watertight c. fitting very close to the body <tight jeans>; also too snug <tight shoes> d. (1) closely packed ; very full <a tight bale of hay> (2) barely allowing time for completion <a tight schedule> <tight deadlines> e. allowing little or no room for free motion or movement <a tight connection> <a tight crawl space>; also having a small radius <a tight turn> 2. a. strongly fixed or held ; secure <a tight jar lid> <a tight grip on the ladder> b. (1) not slack or loose ; taut <kept the reins tight> <a tight knot> <a tight drumhead>; also marked by firmness and muscle tone <a tight stomach> (2) marked by unusual tension (as in the face or body) <lips tight with anger> <a family tight with fear> 3. chiefly dialect capable, competent 4. a. difficult to cope with <in a tight spot financially> b. relatively difficult to obtain <money is tight just now>; also characterized by such difficulty <a tight job market> c. not liberal in giving ; stingy <tight with a penny> 5. characterized by little difference in the relative positions of contestants with respect to final outcome ; close <a tight race for mayor> 6. somewhat drunk 7. a. characterized by firmness or strictness in control or application or in attention to details <tight zoning codes> <tight security> <ran a tight newsroom> <keeps a tight hand on her investments> b. marked by control or discipline in expression or style ; having little or no extraneous matter <tight writing> c. characterized by a polished style and precise arrangements in music performance 8. having a close personal or working relationship ; intimate <in tight with the boss> 9. being such that the subject fills the frame <filming a tight close-up> • tightly adverb • tightness noun II. adverb Date: 1680 1. fast, tightly, firmly <the door was shut tight> 2. in a sound manner ; soundly <sleep tight>
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.