tighten

To tighten something is to draw it snug or squeeze it. Your cousin's crazy driving may cause you to tighten your seatbelt and close your eyes.

You can tighten things literally, the way you tighten the lid of a jar or tighten your hold on your best friend's hand as you enter a haunted house together. There's also a figurative way to tighten, like when a library tightens its rules about talking or a restrictive government tightens control over what newspapers are allowed to print. Before tighten appeared in the 18th century, the verb was tight.

Definitions of tighten
  1. verb
    make tight or tighter
    Tighten the wire”
    synonyms: fasten
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    types:
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    frap
    take up the slack of
    firm, tauten
    make taut or tauter
    screw
    tighten or fasten by means of screwing motions
    wind, wind up
    coil the spring of (some mechanical device) by turning a stem
    type of:
    alter, change, modify
    cause to change; make different; cause a transformation
  2. verb
    become tight or tighter
    “The rope tightened
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    constrict, constringe, narrow
    become tight or as if tight
    firm, tauten
    become taut or tauter
    compact, compress, constrict, contract, press, squeeze
    squeeze or press together
    strain, tense
    become stretched or tense or taut
    choke, strangle
    constrict (someone's) throat and keep from breathing
    prim
    contract one's lips
    astringe
    become constricted or compressed
    strangulate
    become constricted
    astringe
    constrict or bind or draw together
    strangulate
    constrict a hollow organ or vessel so as to stop the flow of blood or air
    convulse
    contract involuntarily, as in a spasm
    convulse
    cause to contract
    bear down, overbear
    contract the abdominal muscles during childbirth to ease delivery
    choke, fret, gag
    be too tight; rub or press
    choke, scrag
    wring the neck of
    type of:
    change
    undergo a change; become different in essence; losing one's or its original nature
  3. verb
    restrict
    Tighten the rules”
    synonyms: constrain, stiffen, tighten up
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    type of:
    bound, confine, limit, restrain, restrict, throttle, trammel
    place limits on (extent or access)
  4. verb
    narrow or limit
    synonyms: reduce
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    type of:
    bound, confine, limit, restrain, restrict, throttle, trammel
    place limits on (extent or access)
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