te·​nac·​i·​ty | \ tə-ˈna-sə-tē How to pronounce tenacity (audio) \

Definition of tenacity

: the quality or state of being tenacious

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Choose the Right Synonym for tenacity

courage, mettle, spirit, resolution, tenacity mean mental or moral strength to resist opposition, danger, or hardship. courage implies firmness of mind and will in the face of danger or extreme difficulty. the courage to support unpopular causes mettle suggests an ingrained capacity for meeting strain or difficulty with fortitude and resilience. a challenge that will test your mettle spirit also suggests a quality of temperament enabling one to hold one's own or keep up one's morale when opposed or threatened. her spirit was unbroken by failure resolution stresses firm determination to achieve one's ends. the resolution of pioneer women tenacity adds to resolution implications of stubborn persistence and unwillingness to admit defeat. held to their beliefs with great tenacity

Examples of tenacity in a Sentence

If there is a particular tenacity in Islamist forms of terrorism today, this is a product not of Islamic scripture but of the current historical circumstance that many Muslims live in places of intense political conflict. — Max Rodenbeck, New York Book Review, 30 Nov. 2006 … everything about a person, even the most blameless of facts, can have the sticky tenacity of a secret. — Anthony Lane, New Yorker, 12 Aug. 2002 A tribute to tenacity, the free ascent of Trango Tower was the fulfillment of a cowboy climber's dream. — Todd Skinner, National Geographic, April 1996
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Recent Examples on the Web

But the growing popularity of sport-utility vehicles and air travel point to the tenacity of China’s oil demand. Chuin-wei Yap And Kara Dapena, WSJ, "Tariff Dispute Threatens China’s Thirst for U.S. Oil," 24 July 2018 The rebounding and defensive tenacity have been constants. Barry Jackson, miamiherald, "Mixed offensive results for Bam Adebayo in summer league," 10 July 2018 But after falling behind an early break in the second set, Halep’s tenacity and vigor, two of her great strengths as a player, turned the match around. Stanley Kay, SI.com, "With a Slam Under Her Belt, Simona Halep Cements Status as World's Best Player," 9 June 2018 Their tenacity and vision led to a modern, two-story family home with minimalist-yet-warm interiors—and excellent views of the city. Asad Syrkett, Curbed, "Year in Curbed: The best of House Calls," 26 Dec. 2018 SUBSCRIBE TODAY Power forward Level of need (scale of 1-10): 7 Description A physical presence who will rebound with tenacity and score in the paint when needed is what the Kings seek at power forward. Jason Jones, sacbee, "Kings' best draft fits: Who could be the answer at power forward? Or is he here already? | The Sacramento Bee," 22 May 2018 The great ones pursue those adjustments, tweaks and additions with dogged tenacity. Michael Beller, SI.com, "Max Scherzer's New Cutter Makes the Nationals' Ace Even More Dominant," 16 May 2018 Hopefully, someone figures it out with the same tenacity that the Army Corps of Engineers brought to building it in the first place. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Melting Ice Is Revealing an Old Cold War Base," 4 Aug. 2016 As the future of our world becomes more uncertain, The Man in the High Castle’s could provide a look at both worst-case scenarios and the tenacity of those who would fight against them. Samantha Nelson, The Verge, "Season 3 of The Man in the High Castle doubles down on science fiction — and stumbles," 27 Sep. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tenacity.' 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 tenacity

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for tenacity

see tenacious

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Last Updated

14 Mar 2019

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Time Traveler for tenacity

The first known use of tenacity was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for tenacity


te·​nac·​i·​ty | \ tə-ˈna-sə-tē How to pronounce tenacity (audio) \

Kids Definition of tenacity

: the quality or state of being persistent The dog held his bone with tenacity.

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More from Merriam-Webster on tenacity

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with tenacity

Spanish Central: Translation of tenacity

Nglish: Translation of tenacity for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of tenacity for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about tenacity

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What made you want to look up tenacity? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a shady place in a garden or forest

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