• synonyms


See more synonyms for sinew on Thesaurus.com
  1. a tendon.
  2. Often sinews. the source of strength, power, or vigor: the sinews of the nation.
  3. strength; power; resilience: a man of great moral sinew.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to furnish with sinews; strengthen, as by sinews.
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Origin of sinew

before 900; Middle English; Old English sinu (nominative), sinuwe (genitive); cognate with Dutch zenuw, German Sehne, Old Norse sin; akin to Sanskrit snāva sinew
Related formssin·ew·less, adjectiveun·sin·ewed, adjectiveun·sin·ew·ing, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for sinew

tendon, vigor, potency, force, power, vitality, muscle, thew

Examples from the Web for sinew

Contemporary Examples of sinew

Historical Examples of sinew

  • I strained a sinew on the day that I slew the three men at Castelnau.

    The White Company

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • The doctrine of Laissez-Faire is the sinew of her policy toward the European states.

    The Arena


  • The bone and sinew is in Africa—we wish to give it direction.

  • He was small of person, but every sinew in his wiry frame was of steel.


    Maurus Jokai

  • Small as the old man was, he was all sinew and muscle; his clutch was like that of a vice.

    The Three Midshipmen

    W.H.G. Kingston

British Dictionary definitions for sinew


  1. anatomy another name for tendon
  2. (often plural)
    1. a source of strength or power
    2. a literary word for muscle
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Derived Formssinewless, adjective

Word Origin for sinew

Old English sionu; related to Old Norse sin, Old Saxon sinewa, Old High German senawa sinew, Lettish pasainis string
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 sinew


Old English seonowe, oblique form of nominative sionu "sinew," from Proto-Germanic *senawo (cf. Old Saxon sinewa, Old Norse sina, Old Frisian sine, Middle Dutch senuwe, Dutch zenuw, Old High German senawa, German Sehne), from PIE root *sai- "to tie, bind" (cf. Sanskrit snavah "sinew," Avestan snavar, Irish sin "chain").

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

sinew in Medicine


  1. A tendon.
  2. Vigorous strength; muscular power.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.