sinew

noun
sin·ew | \ˈsin-(ˌ)yü 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

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Synonyms & Antonyms for sinew

Synonyms: Noun

energy, force, might, muscle, potency, power, puissance, strength, vigor

Antonyms: Noun

impotence, impotency, powerlessness, weakness

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Did You Know?

Noun

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 (For a while, "sinew" also meant "nerve," but that usage is obsolete.)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

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 rotisserie roasted duck was one dish that truly disappointed, a thick pad of unrendered fat still ringing its breast, whose meat was also threaded with a sinew. Craig Laban, Philly.com, "The Bercy adds French brasserie sheen to thriving Ardmore scene," 13 July 2018 The sinew that bound these efforts together was social media. Jessi Hempel, WIRED, "Immigration Fight Shows Silicon Valley Must Stop Feigning Neutrality," 8 July 2018 Remove the sinew and connective tissue but keep the fat. Paula Forbes, GQ, "How to Cook Burgers from Scratch Without a Meat Grinder," 1 July 2018 Once knotty ropes of sinew unwind and melt into succulent gelatin, the Liholiho team can peel away the tough outer membrane. Ali Bouzari, SFChronicle.com, "Housemade: The magic of Liholiho Yacht Club," 22 June 2018 With his bands Sic Alps and the Peacers, Bay Area oddball Mike Donovan has treated his sprawling, postpsychedelic sensibilities with a modicum of rock-music orthodoxy as his collaborators lend shape and sinew to his delirious, wobbly tunes. Peter Margasak, Chicago Reader, "Mike Donovan sheds the loose structures of the Peacers to get totally wiggy," 11 May 2018 Fresh food in March, if people were lucky, was fish from traps set in ice and grouse and snowshoe hares snared with loops of sinew. Ned Rozell, Anchorage Daily News, "A scientist’s view of Alaska, 150 years ago," 11 Mar. 2018 Physically, football players represent the bobsled ideal — muscle-bound, all sinew and swagger, these five brought to the table the size and strength needed to propel roughly half-ton sleds down slippery tracks in speeds exceeding 85 mph. Paul Myerberg, USA TODAY, "2018 Winter Olympics: 'Football players are really bobsledders'," 18 Feb. 2018 For Everton's current crop of first-team stars, any last sinew of confidence drained away from them the moment that Lyon bagged their first - and slightly fortuitous at that - goal in the 3-0 victory in the Europa League on Thursday night. SI.com, "FanView: It's Time for Everton's Stars to Stop Feeling Sorry for Themselves," 3 Nov. 2017

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.

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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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Statistics for sinew

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Time Traveler for sinew

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

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More Definitions for sinew

sinew

noun

English Language Learners Definition of sinew

: strong tissue that connects muscles to bones

sinew

noun
sin·ew | \ˈsin-yü \

Kids Definition of sinew

: tendon

sinew

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

Medical Definition of sinew 

: tendon

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Comments on sinew

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