- 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 tensingrecession, shrinkage, reduction, decrease, deflation, strengthen, reinforce, solidify, stabilize, stiffen, toughen, narrow, circumscribe, cramp, compress, stoop, huddle, squat, condensation, reducing
Examples from the Web for tensing
Contemporary Examples of tensing
They sense you tensing up at peculiar moments, acting skittish, laughing a little too hard, over-feigning outrage or surprise.Michael Sam Is Not a ‘Distraction’
February 12, 2014
All the while, I was tensing up, knowing that this unexpected time would (and did) make me late for a crucial work appointment.A Work-Life Ways to Go
May 26, 2013
Historical Examples of tensing
He sat on the edge of the cot, tensing as though for a leap at Conn's throat.The Cosmic Computer
Henry Beam Piper
Albert turned to face the nearest native, tensing his muscles for battle.Insidekick
Jesse Franklin Bone
There was a tensing of the abdomen, a faint burning in the pit of his stomach.Mate in Two Moves
Lucinda divined hostility in the tensing of the arm round her waist.
The tensing of her body betrayed the temper in which Lucinda met his suggestion.
- 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 tensing
"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”).