1

sinew

noun sin·ew \ ˈsin-(ˌ)yü also ˈsi-(ˌ)nü \
Updated on: 9 Nov 2017

Definition of sinew

1 : tendon; especially : one dressed for use as a cord or thread
2 obsolete : nerve
3 a : 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
  • —Sam Pollock

sinew was our Word of the Day on 07/10/2010. Hear the podcast!

Examples of sinew in a Sentence

  1. cutting through bone and sinew

  2. the justices displayed great intellectual depth and sinew in writing their opinion on this case

Recent Examples of sinew from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sinew.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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 (For a while, "sinew" also meant "nerve," but that usage is obsolete.)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


2

sinew

verb

Definition of sinew

transitive verb
: to strengthen as if with sinews

First Known Use of sinew

circa 1614


SINEW Defined for English Language Learners

sinew

noun

Definition of sinew for English Language Learners

  • : strong tissue that connects muscles to bones


SINEW Defined for Kids

sinew

noun sin·ew \ ˈsin-yü \

Definition of sinew for Students

: tendon

Medical Dictionary

sinew

noun sin·ew \ ˈsin-(ˌ)yü, -yə(-w) also ˈsin-(ˌ)ü \

medical Definition of sinew

: tendon


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