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[sin-yoo] /ˈsɪn yu/
a tendon.
Often, sinews. the source of strength, power, or vigor:
the sinews of the nation.
strength; power; resilience:
a man of great moral sinew.
verb (used with object)
to furnish with sinews; strengthen, as by sinews.
Origin of sinew
before 900; Middle English; Old English sinu (nominative), sinuwe (genitive); cognate with Dutch zenuw, German Sehne, Old Norse sin; akin to Sanskrit snāva sinew
Related forms
sinewless, adjective
unsinewed, adjective
unsinewing, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for sinew
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I strained a sinew on the day that I slew the three men at Castelnau.

    The White Company Arthur Conan Doyle
  • The doctrine of Laissez-Faire is the sinew of her policy toward the European states.

    The Arena Various
  • The bone and sinew is in Africa—we wish to give it direction.

  • He was small of person, but every sinew in his wiry frame was of steel.

    Manasseh Maurus Jokai
  • Small as the old man was, he was all sinew and muscle; his clutch was like that of a vice.

    The Three Midshipmen W.H.G. Kingston
  • The merchants, mechanics, and farmers, who constitute the bone and sinew of India.

    History of Education Levi Seeley
  • Excitement is the backbone and muscle and sinew of our beings.

    A Woman at Bay Nicholas Carter
  • Then they threaded the sinew through the holes in an “over-and-over seam.”

    The Later Cave-Men Katharine Elizabeth Dopp
British Dictionary definitions for sinew


(anatomy) another name for tendon
(often pl)
  1. a source of strength or power
  2. a literary word for muscle
Derived Forms
sinewless, adjective
Word Origin
Old English sionu; related to Old Norse sin, Old Saxon sinewa, Old High German senawa sinew, Lettish pasainis string
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for sinew

Old English seonowe, oblique form of nominative sionu "sinew," from Proto-Germanic *senawo (cf. Old Saxon sinewa, Old Norse sina, Old Frisian sine, Middle Dutch senuwe, Dutch zenuw, Old High German senawa, German Sehne), from PIE root *sai- "to tie, bind" (cf. Sanskrit snavah "sinew," Avestan snavar, Irish sin "chain").

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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sinew in Medicine

sinew sin·ew (sĭn'yōō)

  1. A tendon.

  2. Vigorous strength; muscular power.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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