Definition of TIGHT-LIPPED


Tight-lipped functions as an adjective, describing someone who is unwilling or reluctant to speak freely or disclose information, often characterized by a refusal to reveal thoughts, feelings, or details about a particular topic or situation.

Reserved Communication: As an adjective, tight-lipped suggests a reserved or secretive approach to communication, indicating a reluctance to share personal or sensitive information with others, either intentionally or due to a preference for privacy.

Secrecy and Discretion: Individuals described as tight-lipped may prioritize secrecy and discretion, choosing to keep their thoughts, opinions, or knowledge to themselves rather than sharing them openly with others.

Reluctance to Speak: This term implies a reluctance to speak or engage in conversation, particularly when it comes to discussing topics that may be sensitive, confidential, or uncomfortable for the individual.

Maintaining Confidentiality: In some contexts, being tight-lipped may be viewed positively, indicating an ability to maintain confidentiality or keep sensitive information confidential, such as in professional settings or situations requiring discretion.

Communication Challenges: However, in other situations, being tight-lipped may present challenges in communication, hindering the individual’s ability to build trust, collaborate effectively, or express themselves openly in social or professional interactions.

Tight-lipped describes individuals who are reluctant to speak freely or disclose information, often suggesting a reserved or secretive approach to communication. While this trait may be valued in certain contexts for its ability to maintain confidentiality or discretion, it can also pose challenges in interpersonal communication and relationship-building.


The correct term is tight-lipped, with a hyphen. This is the standard way to write this compound adjective, describing someone who is unwilling to speak freely or reveal information. The hyphen helps clarify that “tight” and “lipped” are acting together as a single modifier before a noun, ensuring clarity in communication.

Examples of TIGHT-LIPPED in a sentence

  • The detective remained tight-lipped about the details of the ongoing investigation, refusing to divulge any information to the press.
  • Despite repeated questioning, she remained tight-lipped about her plans for the future, keeping her intentions private.
  • The government officials were tight-lipped about the diplomatic negotiations, sparking speculation about the outcome.
  • He was tight-lipped about his personal life, preferring to keep his relationships and emotions private.
  • The company executives remained tight-lipped about the impending layoffs, causing anxiety among employees.
  • The witness was tight-lipped during the interrogation, refusing to answer even the simplest questions.
  • Despite the rumors swirling around him, he remained tight-lipped about his involvement in the scandal.
  • The celebrity was tight-lipped about the details of her new project, teasing her fans with hints but revealing nothing concrete.


The term tight-lipped has its etymological roots in English, reflecting its functional meaning and linguistic evolution.

  • Semantic Context: In contemporary usage, “tight-lipped” describes someone who is unwilling or reluctant to speak freely or divulge information. It implies a closed or guarded demeanor, often associated with secrecy, discretion, or refusal to disclose.
  • Origins in English: The term originated within the English language, evolving over time to encapsulate the concept of reserved speech or silence.
  • Cultural Connotations: The term “tight-lipped” carries cultural connotations of restraint or secrecy, suggesting a deliberate effort to withhold information or maintain privacy.
  • Usage in Context: “Tight-lipped” is commonly used in various contexts, such as describing individuals in personal relationships, professional settings, or even in public figures and government officials who are hesitant to reveal details or secrets.

The term tight-lipped reflects its historical roots in English and its contemporary usage to describe individuals who are unwilling to speak freely or disclose information, illustrating a cultural tendency towards guarded communication or secrecy.


  • Silent
  • Reserved
  • Mum
  • Taciturn
  • Retiring
  • Uncommunicative
  • Speechless
  • Hush-hush


  • Talkative
  • Vocal
  • Communicative
  • Open
  • Expressive
  • Loquacious
  • Chatty
  • Outspoken


  • Secrecy
  • Restraint
  • Discretion
  • Privacy
  • Quiet
  • Reticence
  • Confidentiality
  • Unrevealing

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