sinew

noun
sin·​ew | \ ˈsin-(ˌ)yü How to pronounce sinew (audio) also ˈsi-(ˌ)nü \

Definition of sinew

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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— Sam Pollock

sinew

verb
sinewed; sinewing; sinews

Definition of sinew (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to strengthen as if with sinews

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 lack the stomach for horror movies. 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 and nerve were used in a synonymous manner for both tendons and nerves, but the use of sinew in the sense of "nerve" is now obsolete, and nerve in the sense of "sinew" or "tendon" is now primarily found only in certain phrases such as "strain every nerve" (which implies making every possible effort). 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").

Examples of sinew in a Sentence

Noun cutting through bone and sinew the justices displayed great intellectual depth and sinew in writing their opinion on this case
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The twine instead of roots and sinew changed the entire concept of netting. John Schandelmeier, Anchorage Daily News, 3 July 2022 Crafted of wood, iron, plant fiber and animal sinew, the model of 10 men paddling a canoe would strike most viewers as a beautiful object. New York Times, 5 May 2022 Benfica’s chaotic, innocent draw with Ajax had little in common with the grit and sinew of Manchester City’s elimination of Atlético Madrid. New York Times, 29 Apr. 2022 If hunters land a whale, the tribe says its meat, oil, bone and sinew are all used. Julian Mark, Anchorage Daily News, 30 Sep. 2021 If hunters land a whale, the tribe says its meat, oil, bone and sinew are all used. Julian Mark, Anchorage Daily News, 30 Sep. 2021 If hunters land a whale, the tribe says its meat, oil, bone and sinew are all used. Julian Mark, Anchorage Daily News, 30 Sep. 2021 If hunters land a whale, the tribe says its meat, oil, bone and sinew are all used. Julian Mark, Anchorage Daily News, 30 Sep. 2021 If hunters land a whale, the tribe says its meat, oil, bone and sinew are all used. Julian Mark, Anchorage Daily News, 30 Sep. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb In Rauch’s lively production, which deftly sinews the in-the-round Fichandler Stage, chorus members execute resonant stylized movement and also take cameos, such as a diner cook and waitress (Lamar and Kate Mulligan). Celia Wren, Washington Post, 17 Feb. 2020 See More

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.

First Known Use of sinew

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

circa 1614, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for sinew

Noun

Middle English sinewe, from Old English seono; akin to Old High German senawa sinew, Sanskrit syati he binds

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Time Traveler for sinew

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The first known use of sinew was before the 12th century

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Dictionary Entries Near sinew

Sinetic

sinew

sine wave

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Statistics for sinew

Last Updated

8 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Sinew.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sinew. Accessed 12 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for sinew

sinew

noun
sin·​ew | \ ˈsin-yü How to pronounce sinew (audio) \

Kids Definition of sinew

: tendon

sinew

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

Medical Definition of sinew

: tendon

More from Merriam-Webster on sinew

Nglish: Translation of sinew for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sinew for Arabic Speakers

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