adjective, tens·er, tens·est.
verb (used with or without object), tensed, tens·ing.
THINK YOU’VE GOT A HANDLE ON THIS US STATE NICKNAME QUIZ?
Origin of tense1
OTHER WORDS FROM tensetensely, adverbtenseness, nounun·tens·ing, adjective
Definition for tense (2 of 2)
Origin of tense2
OTHER WORDS FROM tensetenseless, adjectivetense·less·ly, adverbtense·less·ness, noun
Example sentences from the Web for tense
I discovered Martin’s paintings four years ago, during a similarly noisy, tense time.After the 2016 election, Agnes Martin's paintings gave me solace. This time, they're still an escape.|Kelsey Ables|November 8, 2020|Washington Post
The Washington Post went with “A nation divided,” while USA Today chose “A tense nation wonders what’s next.”How newspaper front pages treated an Election Day with no clear winner|Marisa Iati|November 4, 2020|Washington Post
Now with a tense election nearing, they’re taking preemptive steps to prepare for turmoil that could last days.Stores in the US are bracing for destruction following the election|Marc Bain|October 29, 2020|Quartz
I love mountain biking, but now even the thought of riding a short section of road on the way to the trails makes my body tense and tears well up in my eyes.
It’s been a tense process, because the political power of a Supreme Court justice is enormous—a president gets at most eight years to shape the law but a Supreme Court justice has a lifetime appointment to decide whether laws are constitutional.
My sleep is hot and jaw-tensed and filled with dreams of death.
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|Tim Teeman|July 10, 2014|DAILY BEAST
It was announced that a new face would soon be stopping by, and the mood slightly tensed.
His tensed muscles were aching unheeded; his sense of feeling seemed lost, so intently was he waiting for some further word.Astounding Stories, May, 1931|Various
Frankle tensed, a chill running up his spine, his eyes drawn back to the gleaming jewel.The Link|Alan Edward Nourse
It became bloated with a poisonous wrath, his eyes gleamed evilly and his muscles tensed.
Tick-Tock, ordinarily the most restful and composed of companions, definitely was still tensed up about something.Novice|James H. Schmitz
He was suppressing it with an effort, but it showed in his tensed muscles and in his flushed face.
British Dictionary definitions for tense (1 of 2)
Derived forms of tensetensely, adverbtenseness, noun
Word Origin for tense
British Dictionary definitions for tense (2 of 2)
Derived forms of tensetenseless, adjective
Word Origin for tense
Cultural definitions for tense
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”).