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[tuh-ney-shuh s]
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  1. holding fast; characterized by keeping a firm hold (often followed by of): a tenacious grip on my arm; tenacious of old habits.
  2. highly retentive: a tenacious memory.
  3. pertinacious, persistent, stubborn, or obstinate.
  4. adhesive or sticky; viscous or glutinous.
  5. holding together; cohesive; not easily pulled asunder; tough.
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Origin of tenacious

First recorded in 1600–10; tenaci(ty) + -ous
Related formste·na·cious·ly, adverbte·na·cious·ness, nouno·ver·te·na·cious, adjectiveo·ver·te·na·cious·ly, adverbo·ver·te·na·cious·ness, nounun·te·na·cious, adjectiveun·te·na·cious·ly, adverbun·te·na·cious·ness, noun


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3. opinionated, dogged. 4. clinging.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for tenacious


  1. holding or grasping firmly; forcefula tenacious grip
  2. retentivea tenacious memory
  3. stubborn or persistenta tenacious character
  4. holding together firmly; tough or cohesivetenacious cement
  5. tending to stick or adheretenacious mud
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Derived Formstenaciously, adverbtenaciousness or tenacity (tɪˈnæsɪtɪ), noun

Word Origin

C16: from Latin tenāx, from tenēre to hold
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

Word Origin and History for tenacious


c.1600, from Latin tenaci-, from tenax "holding fast" (see tenacity). Related: Tenaciously; tenaciousness.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

tenacious in Medicine


  1. Clinging to another object or surface; adhesive.
  2. Holding together firmly; cohesive.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.