tight as a drum
(as) tight as a drum
1. Exceptionally taut; stretched very tight, as the skin of a drumhead. The muscles in his arms and back bulged as he lifted the crate, his skin as tight as a drum. They rushed the child to hospital when his abdomen became tight as a drum due to the swelling.
2. Sealed so tightly or securely that water or air is unable to escape or enter. It's a lost art, being able to caulk a boat until it's as tight as a drum. The suit is tight as a drum to keep inclement weather conditions out, but the lack of ventilation turns it into something of a sauna while you wear it.
*tight as a drum
1. stretched tight. (*Also: as ~.) Julia stretched the upholstery fabric over the seat of the chair until it was as tight as a drum. The skin on his scalp is tight as a drum.
2. sealed tight. (*Also: as ~.) Now that I've caulked all the windows, the house should be tight as a drum. Your butterfly died because the jar is as tight as a drum.
3. and *tight as Midas's fist very stingy. (*Also: as ~.) He won't contribute a cent. He's as tight as a drum. Old Mr. Robinson is tight as Midas's fist. Won't spend money on anything.
tight as a drum
Taut or close-fitting; also, watertight. For example, That baby's eaten so much that the skin on his belly is tight as a drum, or You needn't worry about leaks; this tent is tight as a drum. Originally this expression alluded to the skin of a drumhead, which is tightly stretched, and in the mid-1800s was transferred to other kinds of tautness. Later, however, it sometimes referred to a drum-shaped container, such as an oil drum, which had to be well sealed to prevent leaks, and the expression then signified "watertight."