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[ten-uh n]
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  1. a projection formed on the end of a timber or the like for insertion into a mortise of the same dimensions.
verb (used with object)
  1. to provide with a tenon.
  2. to join by or as by a tenon.
  3. to join securely.

Origin of tenon

1400–50; late Middle English < Middle French, equivalent to ten(ir) to hold (< Latin tenēre) + -on noun suffix
Related formsten·on·er, noun


  1. a combining form meaning “tendon,” used in the formation of compound words: tenotomy.
Also tenon-.

Origin of teno-

combining form representing Greek ténōn
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for tenon

Historical Examples

  • The tenon is one hole in length, and the head of the standard one hole and a half in length.

    Ten Books on Architecture


  • A stub mortise-and-tenon is made by cutting only two sides of the tenon beam.

  • On the working edge near the end mark the thickness of the tenon.

  • It is used to keep a tenon tightly fixed as in wheel spokes.

  • The rule is that the tenon should be one-half the width of the rail, minus the groove.

British Dictionary definitions for tenon


  1. the projecting end of a piece of wood formed to fit into a corresponding mortise in another piece
verb (tr)
  1. to form a tenon on (a piece of wood)
  2. to join with a tenon and mortise
Derived Formstenoner, noun

Word Origin

C15: from Old French, from tenir to hold, from Latin tenēre


before a vowel ten-

combining form
  1. tendontenosynovitis

Word Origin

from Greek tenōn
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 tenon


projection inserted to make a joint, c.1400, from Middle French tenon "a tenon," from Old French tenir "to hold" (see tenet).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

tenon in Medicine


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

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