Green’s Dictionary of Slang

tight adj.

1. in positive senses.

(a) a general positive epithet, meaning competent, skilful, admirable etc; thus tight-cock n., a skilful fellow; tightish adj.

[UK]Shakespeare Antony and Cleopatra IV iv: Thou fumblest, Eros; and my queen’s a Squire More tight at this then thou.
[UK]‘R.M.’ Scarronides 31: A tite neat Maid.
[UK]Motteux (trans.) Gargantua and Pantagruel (1927) II Bk V 548: A tight young thing, as fair as may be, Without a dad conceived a baby.
[UK]Farquhar Recruiting Officer II iii: You’re both young tight fellows, and the army is the place to make you men for ever.
[UK]J. Addison Drummer III i: I’ll have a pretty tight girl.
[UK]Hist. of the Remarkable Life of John Sheppard 34: If all were but such Tight-Cocks as himself, the Reputation of the British Thievery might be carried to a far greater height.
[UK]N. Hooke Sarah-Ad 9: A tight young clever Girl was Nancy.
[UK]T. Sheridan Brave Irishman I vii: Here’s Betty, a tight little girl.
[UK]G. Colman Jealous Wife IV ii: I am a tight young fellow – sound in wind and limb.
[UK]Bridges Burlesque Homer (3rd edn) 105: He seems i’th’ main a tightish fellow [...] There’s fire and brimstone in his face.
[UK]Morris et al. ‘O’Whack’s Song in Notoriety’ in Festival of Anacreon (1810) 55: Oh, may jolly tight Shelagh [...] go round the globe, ay, from corner to corner.
[UK]J. Freeth ‘Ned Dennis / Jack Ketch’ Political Songster 62: Ned Dennis was as tight a lad, / As ever stept a ladder.
[UK] ‘The Irishman’s First of August’ in Jovial Songster 11: A comical story I’ll tell soon, / Of a tight little fellow, well known on the seas, / And his name it was admiral Nelson.
[UK]J. Poole Hamlet Travestie II ii: Horatio, you’re as tight a lad, I say, As one may meet with.
[UK]C. Dibdin Yngr Larks of Logic, Tom and Jerry II i: Then what made you figure in here, my tight one?
[US] ‘Wars Yure Hoss?’ in T.A. Burke Polly Peablossom’s Wedding 42: Wal, we both plaid rite tite that game, I sware, an’ we was both six an’ six, an’ —.
[UK]R.S. Surtees Mr Sponge’s Sporting Tour 188: Great Heavens! but they were tight, and smart, and shiny; and Puffington was just as tight, and smart, and shiny as any of them.
[UK]Morn. Post 18 Dec. 3/3: A troop of gaol-birds right and tight / [...] / At the Thieves’ Kitchen made a night.
[UK]Derby Day 44: The Littl’un’s tight — tight as a drum.
[US]S. Yurick Warriors (1966) 92: They were beginning to feel a little better now, getting tight and cool, their fear growing into anger.
[US]G. Tate ‘Knee Deep in Blood Ulmer’ in Flyboy in the Buttermilk (1992) 18: That cut’s also Blood’s only tight vocal tune. Otherwise he don’t take the singing shtick too seriously.

(b) (later use US black) spruce, neat; well-dressed, fashionable; dressed up.

in W. Dampier Voyage round World (1697) 11: When they are among the English, they wear good Cloaths, and take delight to go neat and tight .
[UK]Foote Maid of Bath in Works (1799) II 213: She’s a tight bit of stuff.
[UK]‘Roger Ranger’ Covent Garden Jester 64: He never saw anybody dressed so neat and tight in his life.
[UK]A. Douglas ‘Bonny Lass o’ Yonder Braest’ Poems in Scot. Dialect 165: Tell me, is her person neat? [...] A tighter shape was never seen, / Her dress was decent tight an’ clean.
[UK](con. early 17C) W. Scott Fortunes of Nigel I 48: I am a tight London ’prentice, and hope to be a freeman one day.
[UK]Lytton Paul Clifford I 59: Many were the tight apprentices [...] who used to turn back in admiration of Bachelor Bill.
[US] ‘Paddy Carey’s Fortune’ in Donnybrook-Fair Comic Songster 46: Nate little, tight little Paddy Carey!
[UK]Sl. Dict. 322: tight, spruce, strong, active; ‘a tight lad,’ a smart, active young fellow.
[UK]Leeds Times 3 Feb. 6/4: No, she ain’t a dolly-mop; you’re clean off the scent there, buttie [...] she’s proper. Right tight wench.
[US]Appleton Post-Crescent (WI) 13 May 7/1: Flapper Dictionary tight – Attractive.
[US]A. Halper Foundry 100: What do you think of Mr. Lefkowitz’s nifty new brown suit? Tight and classy, eh?
[US]E. Folb Runnin’ Down Some Lines 257: tight adj. 1. Well-dressed.
[US](con. 1969–70) D. Bodey F.N.G. (1988) ‘I gotta get my black ass tight.’ He disappears into the other hooch.
[US]Ebonics Primer at www.dolemite.com [Internet] tight Definition: [...] 3. To look damn good. Example: Shawty was lookin’ tight than a mug in tha club last night.
[US]C. Eble (ed.) UNC-CH Campus Sl. Spring 2014 15: TIGHT — attractive, good: ‘Hey, man. Tight shoes!’.

(c) (US black) of circumstances, secure, properly worked out, organized.

[UK]Aberdeen Press 21 June 7/4: ‘Got the blessed defunct?’ said the undertaker [...] ‘Right and tight,’ answered the buffer.
[US]Sara Martin ‘Mean Tight Mama’ [lyrics] Now when a man starts jivin’ I’m tighter than a pair of shoes.
[US] ‘Hectic Harlem’ N.Y. Amsterdam News 8 Feb. sect. 2: TIGHT. – Good, as ‘It’s tight like that.’.
[US]L. Durst Jives of Dr. Hepcat (1989) 2: Great and much straight and everything is tight even ‘Charlie Chan’ would have to come to land. And everything is much beamy.
[US]‘Iceberg Slim’ Pimp 97: If you’re game ain’t tight, you’ll blow your girl fast.
[US]T. O’Brien Going After Cacciato (1980) 30: The man had his stuff tight.
[US]UGK ‘Feds in Town’ [lyrics] I told my niggaz to make sure that all their shit was tight.
[UK]J. Hawes Dead Long Enough 225: I once tried, years ago [...] to keep it tight when I was driving home with acid still flying about in my head.
[US]Simon & Burns ‘The Target’ Wire ep. 1 [TV script] That shit y’all pull with that security lady: that was tight.
[US]G. Pelecanos Way Home (2009) 57: They’ll be servin a special dinner [...] They did last year, anyway. it was tight.

(d) (US campus) good-looking, well-built.

[US]Eble Campus Sl. Mar.
[US]P. Munro Sl. U.
[US]Blackboiz for Other Boiz [Internet] 12 Feb. I go to the gym 5 times per week, so my body is tight.

(e) (US teen) used of something that one likes very much.

[US]Da Bomb [Internet] 29: Tight: Very good; remarkable. That movie was tight.
[US]Hope College ‘Dict. of New Terms’ [Internet] tight adj. [...] Cool, in style, attractive. Used by teenagers to describe clothing, cars and other desired status symbols.
[US]G. Pelecanos Drama City 153: ‘These drums [i.e. chicken drumsticks] is tight,’ said De Eric Green.
[US]G. Pelecanos Night Gardener 57: Having a cell phone was tight.
[SA]IOL News Western Cape) 6 Feb. [Internet] The new stuff is tight and I can’t wait for the new album.
[US]J. Díaz This Is How You Lose Her 36: Nilda went on missions around the pool just so she could show off how tight she looked in her bikini.

2. in negative senses.

(a) of a situation or thing, hard to deal with, difficult, tough; thus tight corner n.; tightish adj.

[UK]Foote Mayor of Garrat in Works (1799) I 180: Is Lady Barbara’s work pretty tight?
[UK]D. Haggart Autobiog. 55: I returned his blow, and he and I had a tight milvadering.
[UK] ‘Judy’s Got a Rare Black Eye!’ Ri-tum Ti-tum Songster 22: A thing so tight, of ten-horse might, / Wouldn’t be too much for Judy Connor.
[Aus] ‘The Squatter Done Brown’ Heads of the People (Sydney) [lyrics] And I was left, of means bereft, / A ‘tightish’ bill to pay.
[UK]Dickens Our Mutual Friend (1994) 324: The whole of the mangling arrangements had devolved upon himself and he had had ‘rayther a tight time.’.
[US]H.B. Stowe Poganuc People 126: I tell ye Zeph’s screwed himself into a tight place now.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 29 Oct. 7/4: Three sweet burglars in Melbourne are in a tight place. The old story. Too fond of the Jimmies.
[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 10 June 1/8: The slaveys there they had no right / To smear their bread when things were tight.
[UK]C. Rook Hooligan Nights 102: His turn of speed [...] brought him out of a very tight place.
[US]Sun (NY) 14 Jan. 6/2: I had him out of a tight snap onct, and he kinder cottoned to me.
[US]‘Old Sleuth’ Dock Rats of N.Y. (2006) 89: ‘I wonder,’ he muttered, ‘if they have came to look for me here? If they have, I reckon I’m in a tight place!’.
[UK]Leeds Mercury 4 Apr. 7/2: ‘You were in a pretty tight corner’.
[US]Dos Passos Manhattan Transfer 306: Hell I been in lots o tighter holes than this.
[US]W.R. Burnett Dark Hazard (1934) 39: I been in some pretty tight ones too. Never say die.
[US]Z.N. Hurston Seraph on the Suwanee (1995) 735: The posse were in a tight fix because the men dared not show themselves too plainly for fear of getting shot.
[US]T. Runyon In For Life 54: If it gets too tight I’ll have you out of Iowa.
[US]J. Mills Panic in Needle Park (1971) 29: It’s real tight out there. You know, they’ve started selling nickel bags for $7.
[US](con. 1960s) D. Goines Black Gangster (1991) 210: It’s going to be kind of tight for a few of you.
[UK]K. Sampson Outlaws (ms.) 59: Maybe one of them’d think it was tight and that, but they’d basically all throw the boot in.

(b) of a contest, one in which the contestants are evenly matched; thus tightish adj.

[UK]‘One of the Fancy’ Tom Crib’s Memorial to Congress 7: Last Tuesday, at Mousley, the Balance of Power / Was settled by twelve Tightish Rounds, in an hour.
[US]Yorkville Enquirer (SC) 27 Nov. 1/2: ‘Hit were the titest race I ever seed’.

3. pertaining to an individual.

(a) intimate, close.

‘John Sheppard’s Last Epistle’ in Dly Jrnl (London) 16 Nov. 1: Moll Frisky was here t'other Night, / [...] / And swore she’d been dam—ble tight / Upon Pitchford who plays on the Fiddle. / She snaffled his Main, Poll and T—l.
[US]J. Lait ‘The Gangster’s Elegy’ Beef, Iron and Wine (1917) 247: Gene the Greek, he was the Kid’s tightest pal, an’ he takes it harder, maybe, than even the rest of us.
[US]D. Hammett ‘$106,000 Blood Money’ Story Omnibus (1966) 340: This has got to be kind of a tight party — just you and me.
[US]Andy Kirk ‘Once or Twice’ [lyrics] Of course, you know you’ll need a red hot flat, / A beautiful girl, and it’s tight like that.
[US]‘Hal Ellson’ Duke 89: We’re supposed to be tight. We’re friends.
[US]H. Simmons Corner Boy 178: We’re supposed to be real tight.
[US]H. Selby Jr Last Exit to Brooklyn (1966) 16: He was my boy [...] Me and him was real tight man.
[US]C. McFadden Serial 52: Are you and Harry still tight?
[US]E. Folb Runnin’ Down Some Lines 19: Like you got yo’ hope-to-die partner [...] yo’ tight-blood and you cain’t git no closer.
[US]T. Dorsey Florida Roadkill 10: People assumed [...] that Johnny was a tight friend.
[UK]A. Wheatle Dirty South 79: Noel and I were tighter than a church lady’s crotch after that night.
[Aus]P. Temple Truth 66: He’s a former Hellhound, been tight with Gabby Simon, club scumbag.
[US](con. 1960s) J. Ellroy Blood’s a Rover 18: Pete was tight with a mob lawyer.
[UK]K. Richards Life 122: Forty years on, Charlie and I are tighter than we could express or probably know.
[US]D. Winslow The Force [ebook] If Torres talked to anyone, it was Jorge Gallina. Him and Torres were tight.

(a) of an individual, mean, avaricious, ungenerous.

[US]Lewis & Clark Orig. Journals Lewis and Clark Exped. (1904) III 278: We treated those people well— They are tite Deelers, value Blu and white beeds very highly, and sell their roots also highly .
[Ire]‘A Real Paddy’ Real Life in Ireland 288: He is a tight old ‘Milesian,’ [...] for he is as poor as a church mouse, or a chapel one.
[US]Bartlett Dict. Americanisms 356: tight. Close; parsimonious; saving; as, ‘a man tight in his dealings.’ Close; hard.
[US]F.M. Whitcher Widow Bedott Papers (1883) 32: Tim Crane was so tight he faily begrudged the air he breathed.
[UK]Hotten Dict. of Modern Sl. etc. (2nd edn).
[US]G.W. Peck Peck’s Bad Boy and His Pa (1887) 65: She says Pa was tighter than the bark of a tree.
[UK]Binstead & Wells Pink ’Un and Pelican 31: He’s as tight as a drum, and I’m blowed if he hasn’t won over three thousand pound.
[Aus]Bulletin Reciter 1880–1901 198: That night when Phil got ‘tight’ and wouldn’t shout champagne.
[US]Van Loan ‘Loosening Up of Hogan’ Ten-Thousand-Dollar Arm 134: He’s so tight he would n’t bet five dollars on four kings and an ace!
[US](con. 1900s) S. Lewis Elmer Gantry 179: Fine solid people, really saved, but they are just the least little bit tight with the money.
[US]N. Algren ‘Thundermug’ Texas Stories (1995) 74: I’m not the tight kind [...] I bought these boys three bucks’ worth o’ black-eyed peas.
[US]Mezzrow & Wolfe Really the Blues 217: He’s so tight he wouldn’t buy a pair of shorts for a flea.
[Ire]J.P. Donleavy Ginger Man (1958) 43: But what tight bastards.
[UK]P. Terson Apprentices (1970) I ii: They’re too tight to buy a meal at the canteen.
[US]G.V. Higgins Cogan’s Trade (1975) 62: He used to be the tightest cocksucker you ever saw.
[Aus]R.G. Barrett You Wouldn’t Be Dead for Quids (1989) 27: When it came to releasing money, Les was tighter than a goldfish’s arse.
[Ire](con. 1930s) L. Redmond Emerald Square 143: The oul’ ones never got the best of him for all his repartee. With them, he was as tight as tuppence.
[Aus]R.G. Barrett Davo’s Little Something 8: Jesus you’re tight. Why don’t you buy your lunch.
[UK]I. Welsh Filth 16: Tight auld cunt, Ray sneers.
[UK]Indep. Mag. 22 Jan. 12: He was never really big on buying it anyway, the tight bastard.
[Aus]N. Cummins Adventures of the Honey Badger [ebook] You couldn’t drive a pin up his arse with a sledgehammer. Mate, he is as tight as a fish’s coit.

(b) (Aus./US) of an individual, tough, unyielding, aggressive.

Riverine Grazier (Hay, NSW) 10 Apr. 1/4: ‘On the road home he got slung off, and sprained an ankle. He’s as tight as they make ’em. He told me to ride like blazes for a bandage, and I’m here accordingly’ .
[Aus]Kia Ora Coo-ee 15 Apr. 16/3: Yes, guarding the bridge by day and night, / I tackled men who were awfully tight. / Dangerous work, my laddie, and hard, / Out at the bridge where I stood guard.
[US]R. Fisher Walls Of Jericho 22: ‘Tight kid,’ he commented. ‘What I mean, tight.’ A tight kid makes a hard man.
[US]R. Chandler ‘Red Wind’ in Red Wind (1946) 13: He had a tight voice I didn’t like.
[US]‘Lord Buckley’ Hiparama of the Classics 16: He was a hard, tight, tough Cat.
[US]G.V. Higgins Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973) 18: Arthur’s as tight as a popcorn fart when he’s on a job.
[US](con. 1930s–60s) H. Huncke Guilty of Everything (1998) 268: In the first few months there’d been a tight attitude toward each other, but we gradually opened up.
[US]W. Shaw Westsiders 30: I played basketball for years. I was tight.

(a) (US/NYC) angry.

[US]The Cut (NY Times Mag.) Mar. [Internet] ode or OD — In late ’00s, OD (pronounced oh-dee) used to mean really or very, derived from the acronym for overdose. Now it retains the same meaning, but the spelling has changed to ode. [...] As in: ‘Jessica, I love your Snapchat story! It’s ode gucci!’.

4. in financial senses.

(a) of an individual or situation, impoverished, in financial difficulties.

[UK]M. Edgeworth Castle Rackrent (1832) 49: Well, when things were tight with them [...] my son Jason put in a word again about the lodge, and made a genteel offer to lay down the purchase-money.
[UK]‘Jeremy Swell, Gent.’ Tailors’ Revolt 18: Ah, my tight lads, with rage I see you burn.
A. Bowman Laura Temple 115: [I] should have liked to have a lark with them; but I had not the means, I am kept so tight for cash.
[UK]Hotten Sl. Dict.
in Scot. Law Rev. I 213: I thought he was a well-intended fellow, though tight for cash.
[UK]Joyce in Letters (1957) 74: I am tight for money as I have bought a new suit.
[US]J. Weidman What’s In It For Me? 13: Other people been tight for cash before.
[US](con. 1910s) J. Thompson Heed the Thunder (1994) 32: It looks like a pretty tight winter, and we may need all the hard cash we can lay hands on.
[US]E. De Roo Big Rumble 26: They lived on the Unemployment Insurance papa got. It was a tight squeeze.
J. Flam Bread and Butter 133: If he couldn’t get a buyer, he would be tight for cash and willing to sell it for what he could get.
Monroe et al. Brothers, Black and Poor 184: They had fallen behind in their share of the rent, and James Bonner was tight for cash.
[US](con. 1949) G. Pelecanos Big Blowdown (1999) 141: We just moved into this two-bedroom, and things are kind of tight.
M. Bannard Drug Addiction and Families 102: Even before the drug situation I knew they were tight for money.

(b) usu. of money, hard to obtain or scarce; thus tight money n.

[US]Bartlett Dict. Americanisms 356: tight. [...] When money is difficult to be procured by discounting, &c., business men say, ‘the money-market is tight,’ or ‘money is tight.’.
[UK]A. Mayhew Paved with Gold 103: Money is tight; it’s like pulling a tooth out getting ha’pence now.
[US]‘Johnny Cross’ ‘The Cat In The Corner’ Orig. Pontoon Songster 65: When may the funds be supposed to be unsteady? When the money is ‘tight.’.
[UK]H. Fludyer Letters 49: I send you a P.O. for ten shillings [...] money is particularly valuable up here now – what the Pater calls ‘tight.’.
[US]P. White West End 16: I think it was in association with money being ‘tight.’.
[UK]‘Doss Chiderdoss’ ‘A Consistent Consort’ Sporting Times 13 June 1/4: ‘Always be like the oof,’ is his motto profound, / ‘When you notice that money is “tight”.’.
[US]J. Lait ‘Felice o’ the Follies’ Beef, Iron and Wine (1917) 79: Sis didn’t want to be too hard on Felice if money was getting tight.
[US](con. 1920s) J.T. Farrell Young Manhood in Studs Lonigan (1936) 259: Money’s pretty tight right now.
[UK]G. Kersh Fowlers End (2001) 252: I tell ’im I got a couple of places in the Midlands, but money is tight.
[US]Cab Calloway Of Minnie the Moocher and Me 41: Money was still tight in the family.
[US]C. McFadden Serial 109: You know how tight apartments are in Marin.
[UK]Viz June–July 33: Carl was unemployed and money was tight.
[US]Simon & Burns Corner (1998) 107: She can’t promise [bail], telling Gary money is tight.
[US]C. Cook Robbers (2001) 84: Money’s usually tight.

5. (mildly) drunk.

[UK]Jack Randall’s Diary 22: I think my tight-ones, we’re a set Of pretty Blades as ever met, Over some flowing Pot-house can.
[UK]C.M. Westmacott Eng. Spy I 382: So stir your stumps, my tight one, or I shall drive over you.
[UK] ‘When We Get Johnny’s Reform’ in C. Hindley Curiosities of Street Lit. (1871) 108: They will get tight three times a day.
[US] in N.E. Eliason Tarheel Talk (1956) 300: The whole party was thoroughly tight.
[US]L. Clappe in Shirley Letters (1949) 40: In all celebrations [...] it is each man’s most onerous duty, to get, what is technically called ‘tight.’.
[[UK]Mons. Merlin 18 Oct. 6/2: Should he [drink] to excess, he does not become, like ordinary mortals, intoxicated, but ‘fresh;’ he may advance to ‘boskiness,’ or get ‘tight screwed’].
[US] in T.P. Lowry Stories the Soldiers Wouldn’t Tell (1994) ) 31: Last night one of the boys got tight and his swearing made my hair stand straight up.
[UK]H. Kingsley Hillyars and Burtons (1870) 429: I never am vulgar before I am three quarters tight.
[UK]Empire (Sydney) 15 Oct. 3/5: Our readers may imagine his surprise [...] on receiving a letter [...] enquiring what he meant by being ‘delightfully tight?’.
[US]L.H. Bagg Four Years at Yale 527: The number even of moderate ‘bummers’ — who perhaps ‘get tight’ once or twice a year, at the time of a society supper or some special celebration — is comparatively small.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 2 Oct. 4/4: A foreman was accused by one of the company of being ‘as tight as a Shah,’ he replied that he denied the foul hearse-persian.
[UK] ‘Blooming Aesthetic’ in Rag 30 Sept. n.p.: An always-get-tight, / A stay-out-all-night, / Have-a-kid-in-the-end young girl.
[Aus]H. Lawson ‘Cambaroora Star’ in Roderick (1967–9) I 158: And, instead of getting tight, / Why, the diggers heard him working like a lunatic all night.
[UK]Sporting Times 11 Feb. 4/1: I give them five bob each to go out every evening, and they always come back so jolly tight.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 4 Aug. 3s/5: A mixed bag of niggers recently made a raid on the lees of a beer cask [...] and lost no time getting uproariously tight.
[Aus]Truth (Perth) 1 Oct. 4/7: You will ‘jerry’ when they tell, / Bishop Wright, / Of some ‘silvertail’ or ‘swell’ / Who got ‘tight,’ .
[UK]W. Sickert New Age 18 June 155: We’ll do just the same as we did before! / Stop out late at night! / But never come home tight.
[Ire]Joyce Ulysses 224: While he waited in Temple bar M’Coy dodged a banana peel with gentle pushes of his toe from the path to the gutter. Fellow might damn easy get a nasty fall there coming along tight in the dark.
[US]Dos Passos Manhattan Transfer 193: Herfy I’m tight as a drum.
[UK]E. Waugh Vile Bodies 193: Absolutely every one – tight as houses.
[UK]E. Glyn Flirt & Flapper 21: Flapper: I guess we’re tight all right.
[US]J.K. Butler ‘Saint in Silver’ in Goulart (1967) 50: My boyfriend’s too tight to drive.
[US]W.R. Burnett Little Men, Big World 135: ‘Liquor?’ ‘With that famous ulcer?’ ‘I’ve seen him tight — and not so long ago.’.
[UK]P. Larkin ‘Dockery & Son’ Whitsun Weddings 37: Black-gowned, unbreakfasted, and still half-tight.
[UK]P. Larkin ‘Old Fools’ High Windows 19: They’ve always behaved as if they were crippled or tight.
[UK]S. Armitage ‘Not the Bermuda Triangle’ Zoom 75: He will get tight on good brandy.
[US]R. Shell Iced 108: After the party Maggie was so tight she could barely walk.
[UK]Indep. Rev. 13 May 20: I’m a bit tight on Saturday night.

6. (Aus. teen) sexually unresponsive, frigid.

[US]Eble Campus Sl. Mar. 6: tight – a frigid female.
[Aus]Lette & Carey Puberty Blues 74: We learnt to fuck just enough not to be called slack or tight.

7. (US) very unfair.

OnLine Dict. of Playground Sl. [Internet] tight [...] grossly unfair.

8. see uptight adj.2

In derivatives

In phrases

keep one’s game tight (v.)

(US black) to act in a self-interested manner.

[US](con. 1960s) D. Goines Whoreson 239: All I’m doing is keeping my game tight.

SE in slang uses

In compounds

tight-arse

see separate entries.

tight-ass

see under tight-arse.

tight (eyes) (n.)

(US black) a pej. term for an Asian, usu. a Japanese.

[US]E. Folb Runnin’ Down Some Lines 57: The most common target for pejorative stereotyping is the shape of an Asian person’s eyes. This is seen in [...] tight, tight eyes, slants, slant eyes, slits.
tight head (n.)

(US black) a head of kinky black hair.

[US]Z.N. Hurston ‘Story in Harlem Sl.’ in Novels and Stories (1995) 1010: Tight head: one with kinky hair.
tight house (n.) [SE women’s tights + house n.1 (1)]

(US) a drinking club or house where young scantily dressed women entertain the customers.

[US]C.W. Gardner Doctor and the Devil 47: I wished to show Dr. Parkhurst a ‘tight house.’ [...] After I ‘bought a round of beer’ for $1, we left the ‘Tight House,’ which gets its name from the fleshings all its inmates must wear.
tight jaws (n.) (also tight cheeks) [a grimace of fury]

(US black) intense anger; usu. as have tight jaws/cheeks, to get angry, to be angry; thus tighten someone’s jaw(s) under jaw n.

[US]S.A. Williams ‘Tell Martha Not to Moan’ in Cade Black Woman (1970) 52: I thought the babe was gon kill me, her jaws was so tight.
[US]G. Scott-Heron Vulture (1996) 94: Seedy got tight jaws ’cause I ain’ dealin’ wit him no more.
[US]E.E. Landy Underground Dict. (1972) 137: My jaws are tight...Expression meaning I’m angry.
[US]D. Claerbaut Black Jargon in White America 83: tight cheeks adj. extremely angry; incensed: The dude had tight cheeks when he left. [...] tight jaws adj. furious; very angry: I’m getting some tight jaws now.
tight-wad

see separate entries.

tight-wadded (adj.)

(US campus) drunk.

[US]Eble Campus Sl. Mar. 5: hammered – drunk. Also [...] tight-wadded.

In phrases

give someone it tight (v.)

to constrain someone, to limit someone’s freedom.

[UK]I. Welsh Filth 145: I don’t want the daft hoor giein Bladesey it tight.
not wrapped too tight (adj.) [one is ‘coming apart at the seams’] (US)

1. unstable, eccentric.

[US]‘Hy Lit’ Hy Lit’s Unbelievable Dict. of Hip Words 15: few marbles missing – Ain’t wrapped to [sic] tight; cat fell out of his tree; flipped out of his nut; crazy.
[US](con. 1969) M. Herr Dispatches 116: Fuck the lieutenant [...] You remember from before he ain’t wrapped too tight.
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Spring 6: not wrapped too tight – acting out of the ordinary, weird.
[US]L. Heinemann Paco’s Story (1987) 7: The lieutenant wasn’t ‘wrapped too tight,’ as Jonesy would say.
[UK]T. Black ‘Long Drop’ in Killing Time in Las Vegas [ebook] He was wrapped far too tight for the real world and meth was his crutch.

2. unsophisticated.

[US]‘Hy Lit’ Hy Lit’s Unbelievable Dict. of Hip Words 9: clod – A total square; a hopeless cockroach who is so un-hip and he ain’t wrapped too tight, and he never will be.
packed tight (adj.) [i.e. ‘constipated’]

(US) nervous, unhappy, worried.

[US]E. Torres After Hours 12: That Jew-boy’s packed tight [...] he got his troubles.
wrapped tight(ly) (adj.) [the image of a neatly wrapped package] (US campus/teen)

1. sane, balanced, esp. in negative uses; thus not wrapped too tight

[US]N. Heard Howard Street 217: As loose in the head as Mommy was, she seemed to be wrapped tighter than gypsy Pearl.
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Apr. 1: not wrapped tightly – silly, unintelligent; used of people.
[US]C. Hiaasen Stormy Weather 193: I’m not so tightly wrapped myself.

2. feeling fine, happy.

[US]‘Hy Lit’ Hy Lit’s Unbelievable Dict. of Hip Words 42: tuff – Fabulous and groovy; wrapped tight; you like it; good-looking and popular.

Comparatives based on either SE or slang uses above

In phrases

tight as a crab’s arse (adj.)

1. (also ..a bull’s arse, …a bull’s vent in fly time, ...a crow’s arse, ...a duck’s arse, ...a fish’s arse, ...a flea’s arse(hole), …a flea’s ass, …a gnat’s arse, …an oyster’s arse, a tomcat’s quoit, …a tomtit’s asshole, tighter than a budgie’s bum, …a bull’s ass in fly time, …a clam’s ass) very tight [SE tight/sense 3a + arse n. (1)].

[UK]P. Kavanagh Tarry Flynn (1965) 99: Petey kept his mouth – in the words of his mother, ‘as tight shut as a crow’s arse,’ throughout the discussion.
[UK]E. Bond Saved Scene x: Yer’re as tight as a flea’s arse’ole.
[US]T.V. Olsen Hard Men (1974) 111: We got ’em tighter than a flea’s ass [...] This time we can string up the lot.
[US](con. late 19C) S. Longstreet Wilder Shore 83: They still talk of the old days when Senator Broderick ran S.F. as ‘tight as a bull’s vent in flytime’.
[NZ]N. Hilliard A Night at Green River 38: He was tight as a bull’s arse going uphill in the fly season.
[Aus]F.J. Hardy Outcasts of Foolgarah (1975) 93: That there Industrial Arbitration and Conciliation Act is tight as a fish’s arse, under water, choom.
[US]E. Torres Q&A 103: Wound him up tighter’n a clam’s ass.
[US] in Maledicta VIII 238: He plays [poker] as tight as a tomtit’s asshole.
[Aus]R.G. Barrett You Wouldn’t Be Dead for Quids (1989) 128: You’ve been tight as a tom-cat’s quoit since the day you were born.
[Aus]R. Beckett Dinkum Aussie Dict. 52: Tight as a fish’s arse: A mean bastard who won’t lend you a quid.
[NZ]McGill Dict. of Kiwi Sl. 113/1: tight as a duck’s arse, also bull’s / gnat’s / fish’s mean with money; often carrying the response: and that’s water tight.
[UK]Viz June–July 18: It’s been tight as a crab’s arse at the top of this issue’s chart.
[Aus]S. Geason Shaved Fish 5: He’ll never pay it. He’s tighter than a budgie’s bum.
[Can](con. 1920s) O.D. Brooks Legs 15: I’m too excited. I’m wound up tighter than a bull’s ass in fly time.
[Aus]S. Maloney Big Ask 148: A wash-out crime scene. The market tighter than a fish’s arse.
[NZ]McGill Reed Dict. of N.Z. Sl. 212: tight as a bull’s/duck’s/fish’s/gnat’s/oyster’s arse Mean with money. The most popular ‘duck’s arse’ carries the extension ... and that’s watertight, while the oyster has to endure being tighter than an oyster’s arsehole at low tide. Other examples of tight include as a nun’s nasty and a Scotchman’s purse. ANZ.

2. very mean.

[UK]B. Reckord Skyvers I ii: He’s as tight as a crab’s arse and that is watertight.
tight as a gnat’s twat (adj.)

very mean.

[UK]N. Griffiths Sheepshagger 133: Been up to is tight-arsed tricks again as he? Fuckin typical. Tight as a gnat’s twat yew are, Marc, d’yew know that?
tight as a lord (adj.)

very drunk.

[UK]‘Career of a Scapegrace’ in Leicester Chron. 10 May 12/1: He’ll go on the boose now, and come home tight as a lord.
[UK]A. Binstead Pitcher in Paradise 115: An old schoolfellow of mine [...] has turned up, tight as twenty lords!
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 28 Nov. 47/2: [T]hat poor devil (who had been fond of the booze in the past) was as tight as a lord, and the news ran like wildfire through the constituency that Tony Jimson could be seen lying dead drunk in the streets of Dingadee.
[US]O.O. McIntyre New York Day by Day 15 July [synd. col.] I heard one of those talky males tell of being tight as a lord last night with So-and-So.
tight as (a) peep (adj.) (also drunk as peep)

very drunk.

[US]Knickerbocker (N.Y.) XLV 429: If drunk as a peep, he ‘lays down’ [DA].
G.A. Sala in Daily Tel. (US) 27 July n.p.: [The] New England mind [...] has long since endorsed the locution ‘as tight as a peep,’ to express an utter state of tipsification.
[UK]‘Walter’ My Secret Life (1966) XI 2308: There’s Mrs. ******* here tight as peep.
tight as a tick (adj.)

1. (also …drum, …handcart, …mink, …pup) drunk.

[US] in B.I. Wiley They Who Fought Here (1959) 192: Mrs Turner brought down some Ale have had a damn good time since it has been here been tight as a pup all the time.
[US]J.W. Carr ‘Word-List from Hampstead, N.H.’ in DN III iii 202: tight as a mink, adj. Drunk, intoxicated. ‘That fellow was tight as a mink last night.’.
[UK]O. Onions Peace in Our Time 165: Come along out of it, Eddie — you’re as tight as a handcart.
[US]K. Brush Young Man of Manhattan 240: He certainly must have been ‘tight as a tick.’.
P.C. Wren Uniform of Glory 240: The Colonel boozing [...] in a low pot-house. Tight as a tick!
[US]‘Bill O. Lading’ You Chirped a Chinful!! n.p.: He’s a musican – He steps out fit as a fiddle and comes back tight as a drum.
[UK](con. 1937) R. Westerby Mad in Pursuit 140: Tight-t as a tick-k.
[UK]A. Sinclair Breaking of Bumbo (1961) 35: I’m drunk, tight as a tic, tac, toc.
[UK]M. Frayn Towards the End of Morning (2000) 47: He was tight as a tick, poor fellow.
[UK]F. Norman Too Many Crooks Spoil the Caper 172: Night was falling and I was tight as a tick.
[US]H. Rawson Dict. of Invective (1991) 385: More commonly encountered today in such phrases as tight as a tick (very drunk).
[UK]C. Dexter Daughters of Cain (1995) 258: We were both tight as ticks later that night.
[UK]M. Walters Echo 299: Tight as a tick, he had waved them off in a taxi.

2. (US gang) well prepared.

[US]I. Freeman Out of the Burning (1961) 135: The Bishops looked at the five of us, tight as ticks, with our fingers on the triggers.
tight as Dick’s hatband (adj.) (also …Jimmy’s hatband) [SE tight/sense 4a + Dick’s hatband n.]

1. (US) extremely tight.

[UK]‘Jon Bee’ Dict. of the Turf, the Ring, the Chase, etc.
[US]L.W. Payne Jr ‘Word-List From East Alabama’ in DN III:v 382: tight as Dick’s hatband, phr. Very tight.
[US] in J.F. Dobie Rainbow in Morning 89: As tight as Dick’s hatband (which an old negro said was so tight that it ‘busted’).
[US]P.G. Brewster ‘Folk “Sayings” From Indiana’ in AS XIV:4 266: An article may be [...] ‘as tight as Dick’s hatband.’.
[US]L. Hughes Laughing to Keep from Crying 53: ‘Out here on the Coast the Chinaman’s got everything sewed up.’ ‘Tight as Dick’s hatband.’.
[UK]J. Colebrook Cross of Lassitude 124: I’m gonna stick here as tight as Dick’s hatband.
[US]A. Brooke Last Toke 141: Friend o’ ours, ole Mr. Simon be. Tight as a dick’s hatband with the man.

2. of one’s finances, impoverished.

[US]J.L. Gwaltney Drylongso 17: Let ’em learn a little napfrying or dietician’s work [...] so they can help themselves when times get tight as dick’s hatband again.
tight as O’Reilley’s balls (adj.) [unlike prev., for which this is merely synon., there is no brandname identification]

(US) very mean, stingy.

[US]Maledicta IV:2 (Winter) 224: Some UK [sic] name play, such as tight as Kelsey’s nuts (or O’Reilley’s balls) for ‘parsimonious,’ is of obscure origin.
tighter than a gnat’s nuts (adj.) [nuts n.2 (1)]

(US) very close, very intimate.

[US]R. Price Breaks 257: Me an’ my old man? [...] we’re tighter’n a gnat’s nuts.
tighter than a turtle’s snatch (adj.)

very tight.

[UK]S. Armitage ‘The Two of Us’ in Dead Sea Poems 32: You on-stream, piped-up, plugged-in [...] tighter than a turtle’s snatch.
tighter than a witch’s cunt (adj.) (also …a nun’s cunt) [cunt n. (1)]

extremely tight-fitting.

[US]C. Loken Come Monday Morning 6: Get that load’a shit off the spreader ’fore the whole damn works froze up tighter’n a nun’s cunt.
[UK]Partridge DSUE (8 edn) 1233/2: tighter than a witch’s cunt. ‘Very tight, as in hard to get off, usu. in ref. to jar lids, nuts or bolts, etc. For Protestant use, say nun’s cunt’ (Leech 1981).
tight with (phr.)

see separate entry.