Share this entry


Synonyms of tighten in English:


  • 1 when the structure is flat, tighten up the fixing screws
    secure, make fast, make more secure, screw up, give an extra turn to
    [Antonyms] loosen
  • 2 he tightened his grip on her arm
    strengthen, make stronger, reinforce, harden, consolidate
    [Antonyms] loosen
  • 3 she tightened the rope about his ankles
    tauten, make/draw taut, make/draw tight, stretch, strain, extend, make rigid, rigidify, stiffen, tense
    [Antonyms] slacken
  • 4 my throat tightened he tightened his lips
    narrow, become narrow/narrower, become tight/tighter, become pinched;
    constrict, contract, brace, draw in, compress, screw up, pucker, purse;
    North American squinch
    [Antonyms] relax
  • 5 councillors have asked supermarkets to tighten up car park security
    increase, make stricter, make more rigorous, make more stringent, make more rigid, stiffen, toughen (up), heighten, escalate, scale up
    informalup, crank up, beef (up)
    [Antonyms] relax
  • Phrases

    tighten one's belt

    why dip into our savings, if we can tighten our belts instead?
    economize, cut back, make cutbacks, make cuts, retrench, husband one's resources, budget, be (more) economical, make economies, be thrifty, be sparing, be frugal, buy (more) cheaply, use less, reduce/decrease wastage, scrimp, scrimp and save, scrimp and scrape, cut corners, draw in one's horns, count the/your pennies, watch the/your pennies;
    save (money), cut expenditure, cut costs;
    North American pinch the/your pennies
    black Englishrake and scrape

    Definition of tighten in:

    Share this entry


    What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

    Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

    Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

    Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources