- 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 tenseststrained, nervous, shaky, edgy, anxious, uneasy, apprehensive, agitated, jittery, restive, excited, stressful, firm, close, stiff, wired, shot, wreck, concerned, moved
Examples from the Web for tensest
Historical Examples of tensest
It was the hour in which the boy's sense of overbrooding awe had always been tensest.Dreamers of the Ghetto
Until this was reached Wyvern underwent the tensest of its torments.A Secret of the Lebombo
Through the swiftest, tensest week in history Europe capsized into war.Soul of a Bishop
H. G. Wells
She had followed him with tensest interest, and indignation's flame in cheek and eye had grown higher and higher.To Him That Hath
Ethel relaxed a little and the tensest lines smoothed out of her face.Jane Journeys On
Ruth Comfort Mitchell
- 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
"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”).