Monday, December 22, 2008

Tight


The phrase “sleep tight” came up again on the show. Contaminating the phrase is the internet nonsense claiming that it’s a reference to tightening the ropes supporting a mattress in order to get a good night’s sleep. In reality, tight--as an adverb--means soundly, securely, and to maximum effect, no strings attached.

Be that as it may, the word tight is quite flexible. Here are some of the meanings through the centuries:

• dense, like woods
• in texture or consistency, close or compact
• impervious to the elements
• not leaky
• uncommunicative and secretive
• competent and skillful
• neatly and carefully dressed
• snugly constructed
• fixed firmly in place
• intimate
• not loose or slack
• strict, stringent, and severe
• disciplined and well co-ordinated
• inebriated
• close-fitting
• allowing a vehicle little room to maneuver
• a tough or unyielding person
• difficult to manage
• an evenly matched contest
• unwilling to part with money
• designating a newspaper that has little room for news because there is a great deal of advertising
• closely packed
• terse and condensed writing
• lacking artistic freedom
• a schedule packed with engagements
• a position which is difficult or precarious
• soundly or roundly [1790]
• not allowing movement
• with constriction or pressure

SIDEBAR: Tight building syndrome.


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