Simple Definition of sinew
: strong tissue that connects muscles to bones
Full Definition of sinew
1 : tendon; especially : one dressed for use as a cord or thread
2 obsolete : nerve
3a : solid resilient strength : power <astonishing intellectual sinew and clarity — Reynolds Price>b : the chief supporting force : mainstay —usually used in plural <providing the sinews of better living — Samuel Pollock>
Examples of sinew in a sentence
cutting through bone and sinew
<the justices displayed great intellectual depth and sinew in writing their opinion on this case>
Did You Know?
Many parts of the body have come to have figurative meanings in English. One can have an eye for interior design, for example, or the stomach for a fight. "Muscle," of course, can mean "strength," and so can "sinew," a word for the tissue that ties muscle to bone - more commonly known as a tendon. (For a while, "sinew" also meant "nerve," but that usage is obsolete.) The use of "sinew" to mean "the chief supporting force" ties into its anatomical function as a stabilizing unit. Sinew derives via Middle English from Old English "seono"; it is also related to Old High German senawa ("sinew") and Sanskrit "syati" ("he binds").
Origin and Etymology of sinew
Middle English sinewe, from Old English seono; akin to Old High German senawa sinew, Sanskrit syati he binds
First Known Use: before 12th century
Definition of sinew
: to strengthen as if with sinews
First Known Use of sinew
SINEW Defined for Kids
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up sinew? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).