- stretched tight, as a cord, fiber, etc.; drawn taut; rigid.
- in a state of mental or nervous strain; high-strung; taut: a tense person.
- characterized by a strain upon the nerves or feelings: a tense moment.
- Phonetics. pronounced with relatively tense tongue muscles; narrow.Compare lax(def 7).
- to make or become tense.
Origin of tense1
Related Words for tensedstrengthen, reinforce, solidify, stabilize, stiffen, toughen, narrow, circumscribe, cramp, compress, stoop, huddle, squat, thicken, set, freeze, clot, prop, petrify, jell
Examples from the Web for tensed
Contemporary Examples of tensed
The emphasis is on fresh faces and tensed bodies and muscles, rather than come-to-bed eyes, pouting, and bulges down below.Prince Fielder’s Demi Moore Moment: World Loses It Over Athlete Without Six-Pack
July 10, 2014
Historical Examples of tensed
She stood a little drooping and shaken, where for a moment she had been erect and tensed.Within the Law
He tensed, straining his ears for any movement that might locate the hidden foe.Slaves of Mercury
Lee tensed as he saw that she was smiling now; and she opened her eyes.The World Beyond
Raymond King Cummings
Unconsciously, he tensed the muscles of his six feet of lean, hard body.The Pygmy Planet
John Stewart Williamson
Facing him across the platform were two lions, tensed as if to leap.The Hunters
- stretched or stressed tightly; taut or rigid
- under mental or emotional strain
- producing mental or emotional straina tense day
- (of a speech sound) pronounced with considerable muscular effort and having relatively precise accuracy of articulation and considerable durationin English the vowel ( iː ) in ``beam'' is tense Compare lax (def. 4)
- (often foll by up) to make or become tense
Word Origin for tense
- grammar a category of the verb or verbal inflections, such as present, past, and future, that expresses the temporal relations between what is reported in a sentence and the time of its utterance
Word Origin for tense
Word Origin and History for tensed
"to make tense," 1670s, from tense (adj.); intransitive sense of "to become tense" (often tense up) is recorded from 1946. Related: Tensed; tensing.
"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).
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”).