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Tighten his jaw

Posted by Smokey Stover on August 30, 2007

In Reply to: Tighten his jaw posted by R. Berg on August 30, 2007

: : : What does someone exactly do, if he "tightens his jaw"?
: : : The context is a lecture, the man giving the speech is quite tired of it already.

: : : "He tightened his jaw, coughed and drew himself up one last time"

: : It is an indication that he is determined, resolute.

: Incidentally, it's not a metaphor. It means he contracted the muscles around his jaw joints, like making a fist. ~rb

Unless he tightened his jaw in some peculiar way, the normal way to say it is, "He clenched his jaw." Or perhaps that's just the medico-dental way to say it, as in "Sleeping with yourjaw clenched is hard on your teeth."