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[ten-suh l, -sil or, esp. British, -sahyl] /ˈtɛn səl, -sɪl or, esp. British, -saɪl/
of or relating to tension:
tensile strain.
capable of being stretched or drawn out; ductile.
Origin of tensile
From the New Latin word tēnsilis, dating back to 1620-30. See tense1, -ile
Related forms
[ten-sil-i-tee] /tɛnˈsɪl ɪ ti/ (Show IPA),
tensileness, noun
tensilely, adverb
nontensile, adjective
nontensility, noun
untensile, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for tensile
Historical Examples
  • The tensile strength of that thread is correctly adjusted to the weight of the model.

    Toy Shop Henry Maxwell Dempsey
  • Did you ever calculate the tensile strength of the material from which you blew the bubble?

  • The tensile stress on the steel may be 16,000 lb per sq. in.

  • The tensile strength of wood is least affected by drying, as a rule.

  • So was the gadget that reduced the tensile strength of concrete to about that of a good grade of marshmallow.

    Anything You Can Do ... Gordon Randall Garrett
  • A large section of the ferro-concrete wall had sagged away and collapsed, having suddenly lost its tensile strength.

    Anything You Can Do ... Gordon Randall Garrett
  • Steel rods add to the tensile strength of concrete which alone has a tremendous strength under compression.

  • The main reason linen thread has been advised for so long is because its tensile strength is much greater than that of cotton.

    Library Bookbinding Arthur Low Bailey
  • Considering the marked saving in weight spruce has a greater percentage of tensile strength than any of the other woods.

    Flying Machines W.J. Jackman and Thos. H. Russell
  • tensile tests, although valuable, do not tell us all about the physical properties of a sample of rubber.

British Dictionary definitions for tensile


of or relating to tension
sufficiently ductile to be stretched or drawn out
Derived Forms
tensilely, adverb
tensility (tɛnˈsɪlɪtɪ), tensileness, noun
Word Origin
C17: from New Latin tensilis, from Latin tendere to stretch
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 tensile

1620s, from Modern Latin tensilis "capable of being stretched," from Latin tensus, past participle of tendere "to stretch" (see tenet).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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