Definition of tenacious
2a : persistent in maintaining, adhering to, or seeking something valued or desired a tenacious advocate of civil rights tenacious negotiatorsb : retentive a tenacious memory
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Examples of tenacious in a Sentence
But raw capitalism has also proved tenacious, evolving its own means of endlessly restimulating consumption … —Nicholas Fraser, Harper's, November 2003
This “Southern Operation” would seal off China from outside help, thus underwriting victory in Japan's frustrating four-year war against Chiang Kai-shek's feckless but tenacious Chinese army. —David M. Kennedy, Atlantic, March 1999
We have been nominally democratic for so long that we presume it is our natural condition rather than the product of persistent effort and tenacious responsibility. —Benjamin R. Barber, Harper's, November 1993
Some people claim that by election day this year François Mitterrand had very little power besides the power of his own tenacious, authoritative, and austere persona. —Jane Kramer, New Yorker, 30 May 1988
The company has a tenacious hold on the market.
a tenacious trainer, she adheres to her grueling swimming schedule no matter what
Recent Examples of tenacious from the Web
The 6-foot-9, 225-pound junior forward made his reputation in college as a tenacious defender.
Just as the season reached its climax at Wembley Stadium, Arsenal turned in the type of tenacious display lacking so often, and against a side so commanding in the Premier League.
Just as the season reached its climax, Arsenal turned in the type of tenacious display lacking so often, and against a side so commanding in the Premier League in Antonio Conte’s first season in charge.
And Ellison’s other tenacious tech peers from the glory days—people like Scott McNealy and Bill Gates—have moved on to other things.
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.
Tenacious Has Latin Roots
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.
Origin and Etymology of tenacious
Latin tenac-, tenax tending to hold fast, from tenēre to hold
First Known Use: 1607See Words from the same year
Synonym Discussion of tenacious
TENACIOUS Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of tenacious for English Language Learners
: not easily stopped or pulled apart : firm or strong
: continuing for a long time
: very determined to do something
TENACIOUS Defined for Kids
Word Root of tenacious
The Latin words tenēre, meaning “to hold,” gives us the roots ten and tain. Words from the Latin tenēre have something to do with holding. Something tenacious holds on and is not easily gotten rid of. To contain is to hold things together inside. To obtain is to get hold of. To retain is to continue to hold.
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