Definition of tenacious
- a tenacious metal
- tenacious burs
- a tenacious advocate of civil rights
- tenacious negotiators
- a tenacious memory
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The company has a tenacious hold on the market.
a tenacious trainer, she adheres to her grueling swimming schedule no matter what
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tenacious.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
For all of its nearly 400 years, "tenacious" has adhered closely to its Latin antecedent: tenax, an adjective meaning "tending to hold fast." Almost from the first, "tenacious" could suggest either literal adhesion or figurative stick-to-itiveness. Sticker burrs are tenacious, and so are athletes who don't let defeat get them down. We use "tenacious" of a good memory, too - one that has a better than average capacity to hold information. But you can also have too much of a good thing. The addition in Latin of the prefix per- ("thoroughly") to "tenax" led to the English word pertinacious, meaning "perversely persistent." You might use "pertinacious" for the likes of rumors and telemarketers, for example.
First Known Use: 1607See Words from the same year
: not easily stopped or pulled apart : firm or strong
: continuing for a long time
: very determined to do something
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