- thin or slender in form, as a thread.
- lacking a sound basis, as reasoning; unsubstantiated; weak: a tenuous argument.
- thin in consistency; rare or rarefied.
- of slight importance or significance; unsubstantial: He holds a rather tenuous position in history.
- lacking in clarity; vague: He gave a rather tenuous account of his past life.
Origin of tenuous
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for tenuous
Her hold on her position at the hospital—and thus, her survival—is tenuous and she knows it.The Walking Dead’s ‘Crossed’: The Stage Is Now Set for a Bloody, Deadly Midseason Finale
November 24, 2014
Perhaps his reluctance stems from the fact that he has only tenuous connections to Hungary these days.In Hands of Hungarian Artist, Jewish Home Movies of the ’30s a Warning of Coming Holocaust
October 25, 2014
Though there are many claims that implicate it in improved brain function, the evidence in support of this finding is tenuous.Fish Oil, Turmeric, and Ginseng, Oh My! Are ‘Brain Foods’ B.S.?
Dr. Anand Veeravagu, MD
October 10, 2014
The relationship between law and ethics, from Selma to Ferguson, is tenuous, and often contentious.The Unsung Heroism of Jesse Jackson
September 7, 2014
Security in the town appeared to be tenuous at best, though, with continued reports of potential suicide bombers.Are American Troops Already Fighting on the Front Lines in Iraq?
September 2, 2014
And the tenuous message which passed between them then astounded Shann.Storm Over Warlock
The sky was blue, naked except for a tracing of tenuous clouds.Attrition
Again he seemed almost invisible; then gigantic and tenuous.The Marooner
Charles A. Stearns
He was clean-shaven, too, and in the English habit he appeared thin and tenuous.The Fifth Queen Crowned
Ford Madox Ford
These particles are for the most part composed of tenuous gases.Your Mind and How to Use It
William Walker Atkinson
- insignificant or flimsya tenuous argument
- slim, fine, or delicatea tenuous thread
- diluted or rarefied in consistency or densitya tenuous fluid
Word Origin and History for tenuous
1590s, irregularly formed from Latin tenuis "thin," from PIE root *ten- "to stretch" (cf. Sanskrit tanuh "thin," literally "stretched out;" see tenet) + -ous. The correct form with respect to the Latin is tenuious. The sense of "having slight importance, not substantial" is found from c.1817.