- on tenterhooks, in a state of uneasy suspense or painful anxiety: The movie keeps one on tenterhooks until the very last moment.
Origin of tenterhook
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for tenterhooks
Not to say Riva, the veteran screen star, is on tenterhooks.Oscar’s 85-Year-Old Darling: A Talk With Emmanuelle Riva of ‘Amour’
February 15, 2013
Every attorney at his firm is hanging on tenterhooks waiting for the bonus announcements.The D.C. Sex Blogger on How She Went From Slut to Housewife
December 10, 2008
I waited on tenterhooks; then I could bear the suspense no longer.'Chatterbox, 1906
I have known it from the first, so pray do not keep me on tenterhooks.
Why do you keep me on tenterhooks like this, putting me off and off?The Forsyte Saga, Volume III.
I shall keep them on the tenterhooks, asking them whom they suppose I have met?The Marriage of Elinor
"To Amsterdam," replied Carew, who was on tenterhooks of impatience.A Desperate Voyage
Edward Frederick Knight
- one of a series of hooks or bent nails used to hold cloth stretched on a tenter
- on tenterhooks in a state of tension or suspense
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 tenterhooks
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Idioms and Phrases with tenterhooks
see on tenterhooks.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.