[ ten-suh l, -sil or, esp. British, -sahyl ]
/ ˈtɛn səl, -sɪl or, esp. British, -saɪl /


of or relating to tension: tensile strain.
capable of being stretched or drawn out; ductile.

Origin of tensile

From the New Latin word tēnsilis, dating back to 1620–30. See tense1, -ile
Related forms
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for tensile

British Dictionary definitions for tensile


/ (ˈtɛnsaɪl) /


of or relating to tension
sufficiently ductile to be stretched or drawn out
Derived Formstensilely, adverbtensility (tɛnˈsɪlɪtɪ) or tensileness, noun

Word Origin for tensile

C17: from New Latin tensilis, from Latin tendere to stretch
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 tensile



1620s, from Modern Latin tensilis "capable of being stretched," from Latin tensus, past participle of tendere "to stretch" (see tenet).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper