- stretched tight, as a cord, fiber, etc.; drawn taut; rigid.
- in a state of mental or nervous strain; high-strung; taut: a tense person.
- characterized by a strain upon the nerves or feelings: a tense moment.
- Phonetics. pronounced with relatively tense tongue muscles; narrow.Compare lax(def 7).
- to make or become tense.
Origin of tense1
Examples from the Web for tensely
He is tensely and formally dressed on all occasions, with an encyclopedic memory of beer labels.Meet the Beer Bottle Dictator
August 12, 2014
Trembling with excitement and fear I tensely waited the coming of the visitor.City of Endless Night
Her thumb 272 rested on the hammer and she stood still, tensely waiting.Louisiana Lou
William West Winter
On the evening I dropped in to see him, he was tensely nervous.Secret Armies
John L. Spivak
Moya faced them tensely, a slim wraith of a girl with dark eyes that blazed.The Highgrader
William MacLeod Raine
Tensely the Terran waited for some reaction from the wolverines.Storm Over Warlock
- stretched or stressed tightly; taut or rigid
- under mental or emotional strain
- producing mental or emotional straina tense day
- (of a speech sound) pronounced with considerable muscular effort and having relatively precise accuracy of articulation and considerable durationin English the vowel ( iː ) in ``beam'' is tense Compare lax (def. 4)
- (often foll by up) to make or become tense
- grammar a category of the verb or verbal inflections, such as present, past, and future, that expresses the temporal relations between what is reported in a sentence and the time of its utterance
Word Origin and History for tensely
"to make tense," 1670s, from tense (adj.); intransitive sense of "to become tense" (often tense up) is recorded from 1946. Related: Tensed; tensing.
"stretched tight," 1660s, from Latin tensus, past participle of tendere "to stretch" (see tenet). Sense of "in a state of nervous tension" is first recorded 1821.
"form of a verb showing time of an action or state," early 14c., tens "time," also "tense of a verb" (late 14c.), from Old French tens "time" (11c.), from Latin tempus (see temporal).
An inflectional (see inflection) form of verbs; it expresses the time at which the action described by the verb takes place. The major tenses are past, present, and future. The verb in “I sing” is in the present tense; in “I sang,” past tense; in “I will sing,” future tense. Other tenses are the present perfect (“I have sung”), the past perfect (“I had sung”), and the future perfect (“I will have sung”).