• unwilling to speak about an event
  • a physical sign of suppressed emotion leading to the person not wanting to speak
  • to press the lips together in order to suppress or hide anger

Example Sentences

  1. When it came the time for him to share stories of this conquests, he became strangely tight-lipped.
  2. She is quite tight-lipped when it comes to speaking of her family and close friends.
  3. The manager was tight-lipped when questioned about the missing funds from the company’s accounts.
  4. It’s possible Lisa does not like speaking about her successes and that is why she is tight-lipped when it comes to them.
  5. I don’t know why people are generally tight-lipped when it comes to divorces, deaths and breakups.


This phrase is one that originated in Europe in the late 16th century and ironically, it is borrowed from the financial world. Then, when someone was tight with money, the person is stingy and unwilling to part or spend any money. Soon, this phrase carried on to be used to refer to people who show unwillingness to speak. So these people were said to be tight with the lips and then this got shortened to tight-lipped.


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