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tighten - definition and synonyms

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verb     tighten pronunciation in American English
Word Forms
present tense
present participletightening
past tensetightened
past participletightened
  1. 1
    [transitive] to turn something such as a screw or a cover until it is tight and you cannot turn it any more
  2. 2
    [transitive] to pull something such as a rope or a belt until it is straighter or until it fits more tightly around something
    1. a.
      [intransitive] if something such as a rope or a chain tightens, it becomes straighter or it fits more tightly around something
  3. 3
    [intransitive] if your hand tightens, or if your fingers tighten, you hold something more tightly
  4. 4
    [intransitive/transitive] if a muscle or a part of your body tightens, or if you tighten it, it becomes hard and stiff, often because you are angry or afraid

    Her stomach tightened, anticipating the fight that was to come.

    1. a.
      [intransitive] if your mouth tightens, or if your lips tighten, your mouth looks narrow because you are angry or annoyed
  5. 5



    tighten up

    [transitive] to make a set of rules stricter or harder to avoid

    a bill that will tighten trading rules

    tighten control:

    The government wants to tighten its control on the press.

phrasal verbs

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