Dictionary

1tense

noun \ˈten(t)s\

grammar : a form of a verb that is used to show when an action happened

Full Definition of TENSE

1
:  a distinction of form in a verb to express distinctions of time or duration of the action or state it denotes
2
a :  a set of inflectional forms of a verb that express distinctions of time
b :  an inflectional form of a verb expressing a specific time distinction

Examples of TENSE

  1. The sentence will read better if you change the tense of the verb.
  2. You should avoid changing tense in the middle of a paragraph.

Origin of TENSE

Middle English tens time, tense, from Anglo-French, from Latin tempus
First Known Use: 14th century

2tense

adjective

: nervous and not able to relax

: showing or causing nervousness

: not relaxed but hard and tight

tens·ertens·est

Full Definition of TENSE

1
:  stretched tight :  made taut :  rigid <tense muscles>
2
a :  feeling or showing nervous tension <a tense smile>
b :  marked by strain or suspense <a tense thriller>
3
:  produced with the muscles involved in a relatively tense state <the vowels \ē\ and \ü\ in contrast with the vowels \i\ and \u̇\ are tense>
tense·ly adverb
tense·ness noun

Examples of TENSE

  1. She was feeling pretty tense.
  2. Why are you so tense?
  3. We sat quietly for a few tense moments.
  4. It was a tense meeting.
  5. My calf muscles are really tense.

Origin of TENSE

Latin tensus, from past participle of tendere to stretch — more at thin
First Known Use: 1668

Rhymes with TENSE

3tense

verb

: to make (a muscle) hard and tight

: to become nervous or tense

tensedtens·ing

Full Definition of TENSE

transitive verb
:  to make tense
intransitive verb
:  to become tense <tensed up and missed the putt>

Examples of TENSE

  1. She tensed as he walked toward her.
  2. He tensed up and missed the putt.

First Known Use of TENSE

1676

Related to TENSE

TENSING Defined for Kids

1tense

noun \ˈtens\

Definition of TENSE for Kids

:  a form of a verb used to show the time of the action or state

2tense

adjective
tens·ertens·est

Definition of TENSE for Kids

1
:  feeling or showing worry or nervousness :  not relaxed <a tense smile>
2
:  marked by strain or uncertainty <a tense moment>
3
:  stretched tight <tense muscles>
tense·ly adverb
tense·ness noun

Word Root of TENSE

The Latin word tendere, meaning to stretch or to spread, and its form tentus give us the roots tend, tent, and tens. Words from the Latin tendere have something to do with stretching or spreading. A tent is a temporary shelter made from stretched out fabric. To distend is to stretch outward and swell in all directions. To extend is to stretch out. A tendon is a cord that connects a muscle to another muscle or to a bone and that stretches allowing a joint to bend. Something tense is stretched tight.

3tense

verb
tensedtens·ing

Definition of TENSE for Kids

1
:  to make or become worried or nervous <She tensed as the deadline grew near.>
2
:  to make (a muscle) hard and tight <She tensed her shoulders.>

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June 30, 2015
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