They sense you tensing up at peculiar moments, acting skittish, laughing a little too hard, over-feigning outrage or surprise.
All the while, I was tensing up, knowing that this unexpected time would (and did) make me late for a crucial work appointment.
"We're losing weight," muttered Clyde from his chair, and Burl knew the ship was tensing to take off.
There was a tensing of the abdomen, a faint burning in the pit of his stomach.
Ennis, tensing to spring toward Ruth, saw the two priests at the gray mechanism swiftly turn the knurled black knobs.
Lucinda divined hostility in the tensing of the arm round her waist.
There came a tensing of the relaxed form, and the head lifted a little so that the girl could look at her questioner.
The tensing of her body betrayed the temper in which Lucinda met his suggestion.
He walked almost to the corner of the building where they crouched, and they held their breath, tensing their muscles.
He felt the tensing of the others in the room, not toward the major but toward him.
"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).
"to make tense," 1670s, from tense (adj.); intransitive sense of "to become tense" (often tense up) is recorded from 1946. Related: Tensed; tensing.
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”).