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Idioms for tenterhook
Words nearby tenterhook
What does tenterhook mean?
A tenterhook is a hook used to attach cloth to a tenter—a frame on which cloth is stretched during the manufacturing process so that it can keep its shape while drying.
Tenterhooks are no longer widely used in cloth manufacturing, and the word tenterhook is now almost exclusively used in the metaphorical phrase on tenterhooks, meaning in a state of painfully anxious suspense or tension. Being on tenterhooks typically involves being extremely nervous while awaiting the outcome of a tense situation, such as a close election, an exciting sports game, or a horror movie.
Example: I’ve been on tenterhooks all morning waiting for the doctor’s office to call back with my test results.
Where does the word tenterhook come from?
The first records of the word tenterhook come from the late 1400s. Tenter comes from the Middle English tente, which means “to stretch” and derives from the Latin tēnsus, meaning “tense.” The word tenter was formerly used as a synonym for tenterhook, and the expression on tenters was used before on tenterhooks to mean the same thing.
Most of the people who use the phrase on tenterhooks have probably never seen an actual tenterhook, and most may not even know what it is. But it’s a good metaphor—when someone is described as being on tenterhooks, they feel tense and stretched thin, just like the fabric on a tenter. The phrase on tenterhooks is often applied to negative situations, but it can be used to describe someone who’s nervously excited.
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What are some other forms related to tenterhook?
- tenterhooks (plural form)
What are some synonyms for tenterhook?
- tenter (obsolete)
What are some words that share a root or word element with tenterhook?
What are some words that often get used in discussing tenterhook?
How is tenterhook used in real life?
Tenterhook is almost exclusively used in the phrase on tenterhooks.
I'm on tenterhooks I'm really anxious about my Son's results. Sending you and your daughter positive vibes.
— Temi (@temfash) August 17, 2020
on tenterhooks today waiting for the arrivals of new carly rae in my inbox and counter/weight shirt in my mailbox
— Carey Pietsch (@careydraws) May 17, 2019
just learned it’s “tenterhooks” not “tenderhooks” 😕
— speedy ortiz ÷ haunted painting 9.25.2020 (@sad13) July 10, 2019
Try using tenterhook!
Which of the following terms is a synonym of the phrase on tenterhooks?
A. on edge
D. all of the above
Example sentences from the Web for tenterhook
What I prefer is a hellish hovering, an endless torturing Tenterhook between the two.I, Mary MacLane|Mary MacLane