ten·​ace ˈte-ˌnās How to pronounce tenace (audio)
ˈte-nəs How to pronounce tenace (audio)
: a combination of two high or relatively high cards (such as ace and queen) of the same suit in one hand with one ranking two degrees below the other

Word History


borrowed from Spanish tenaza "pincers, forceps, tenace in cards," in plural (with singular reference) tenazas, alteration of earlier tenaces, going back to Iberian Latin tenācēs, from nominalized plural of Latin tenāc-, tenāx "holding fast, clinging, persistent" (probably as ellipsis of forcipēs tenācēs "tight-holding pincers") — more at tenacious

First Known Use

1655, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of tenace was in 1655

Dictionary Entries Near tenace

Cite this Entry

“Tenace.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tenace. Accessed 20 Jul. 2024.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!