te·​nac·​i·​ty | \ tə-ˈna-sə-tē \

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

The most important things are focus, tenacity, operational excellence, speed of execution and hard work. Yun-hee Kim, WSJ, "China’s Race to Dominate AI," 12 Nov. 2018 Mexico has sometimes been a World Cup underachiever, often had more talent than tenacity, and regularly saw its nerve fail when the opportunity for greatness presented. Martin Rogers, USA TODAY, "Is Mexico the real deal? Upset of Germany could be the start of a deep World Cup run," 17 June 2018 Life has given me the tenacity and concentration to turn these dreams into reality— and to add magic to these realities. Alejandro Jodorowsky, ELLE Decor, "A Conversation Between Hotelier Alan Faena and Filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky," 14 Nov. 2018 And just her tenacity, her strength and her intellect is what drives me too. Greg Trotter, chicagotribune.com, "Chicago's chief small business officer hopes to make grandmother proud," 14 May 2018 Dickerson displayed tenacity and nifty footwork inside while racking up 16 of his game-high 18 points in the second half. Percy Allen, The Seattle Times, "Three takeaways from Washington’s 73-55 season-opening win over Western Kentucky," 7 Nov. 2018 The first was a combination of seriousness, courage, tenacity and outsize effort—I’ll call it relentlessness. Sam Walker, WSJ, "The Two Contagious Behaviors of a Great Boss," 22 Sep. 2018 But Diana is still going full-force, still operating with the tenacity and deviousness of a former CIA agent. Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica, "Borderless shows us the tech-fueled nightmare that we’ve all created," 8 Nov. 2018 Listed at 6-feet-3 and 210 pounds, Briscoe prides himself on his tenacity. Josh Robbins, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Orlando Magic, point guard Isaiah Briscoe reach deal," 5 July 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

17 Jan 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 \

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

Comments on tenacity

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tremendous in size, volume, or degree

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