[ tuh-noo-toh; Italian te-noo-taw ]
/ təˈnu toʊ; Italian tɛˈnu tɔ /


Music. (of a note, chord, or rest) held to the full time value.

Origin of tenuto

1890–95; < Italian: held (past participle of tenere) < Vulgar Latin *tenūtus, for Latin tentus
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for tenuto

  • His tone is all through his nose, and his tenuto is like the tremulant stop on the organ.

  • Tenuto—(from teneo, to hold)—a direction signifying that the tones are to be prolonged to the full value indicated by the notes.

British Dictionary definitions for tenuto


/ (tɪˈnjuːtəʊ) /

adjective, adverb

music (of a note) to be held for or beyond its full time valueSymbol: (written above a note) ¯

Word Origin for tenuto

from Italian, literally: held, from tenere to hold, from Latin tenēre
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