View synonyms for tenacious


[ tuh-ney-shuhs ]


  1. holding fast; characterized by keeping a firm hold (often followed by of ):

    a tenacious grip on my arm; tenacious of old habits.

  2. highly retentive:

    a tenacious memory.

  3. persistent, stubborn, or obstinate.

    Synonyms: obstinate, persistent, pertinacious, dogged

  4. adhesive or sticky; viscous or glutinous.

    Synonyms: clingy

  5. holding together; cohesive; not easily pulled asunder; tough.


/ tɪˈneɪʃəs; tɪˈnæsɪtɪ /


  1. holding or grasping firmly; forceful

    a tenacious grip

  2. retentive

    a tenacious memory

  3. stubborn or persistent

    a tenacious character

  4. holding together firmly; tough or cohesive

    tenacious cement

  5. tending to stick or adhere

    tenacious mud

“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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Derived Forms

  • teˈnaciously, adverb
  • teˈnaciousness, noun
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Other Words From

  • te·na·cious·ly adverb
  • te·na·cious·ness noun
  • o·ver·te·na·cious adjective
  • o·ver·te·na·cious·ness noun
  • un·te·na·cious adjective
  • un·te·na·cious·ness noun
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Word History and Origins

Origin of tenacious1

First recorded in 1600–10; tenaci(ty) + -ous
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Word History and Origins

Origin of tenacious1

C16: from Latin tenāx, from tenēre to hold
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Example Sentences

There are a number of reasons why the birther myth remains so tenacious even in the face of hard evidence, according to Tali Sharot, a cognitive neuroscientist at University College London who studies how emotions influence people’s beliefs.

Though again, that strategy is much easier said than done — even if Butler isn’t much of a threat to pull up from three, he’s tenacious and swift enough to time his drives for extensive damage in the paint.

I mean, they understood later on that the Americans were tenacious and they’re just going to keep working.

Thompson’s Hoyas, tenacious on defense, came to embody the rough and gritty Big East Conference of the 1980s, and Thompson was at the center of it all.

They may not throw knockout punches by themselves, but they do represent a tenacious setup combo that’s peppered throughout Miami’s 48-minute fights.

For half a century, Ferencz, a tenacious 95-year-old, has been on his own Lemkin-esque campaign.

But tenacious Albanian partisans kept reinserting the claim.

Ware, a tenacious pass-rusher, is a 7-time Pro Bowler and the Cowboys all-time leader in sacks, with 117 in nine seasons.

Attention all you Darwinists still battling the tenacious Creationists (and losing miserably)!

“The only way to get justice is to patient and persistent and tenacious,” Browder says.

And an educational movement is more tenacious than any other sort of social or political movement whatever.

The planters select a deep black loam or tenacious clay, or even loams mixed with sand.

He was crotchetty and impracticable, a man of rash judgment and hasty action-as brave and as tenacious as a bulldog.

He realized how strong must be the sense of comradeship in Mr. Cornelius to break through his habits of tenacious secrecy.

But Jack was only second to Nero in monkey tricks, and he held on in a most tenacious manner.