te·​nac·​i·​ty tə-ˈna-sə-tē How to pronounce tenacity (audio)
: the quality or state of being tenacious
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
Recent Examples on the Web Zelensky’s Rise: The Ukrainian president, once brushed off as a political lightweight, has become a household name, representing his country’s tenacity. Emma Bubola, New York Times, 23 Nov. 2023 Her success story serves as a powerful reminder of the boundless potential that emerges from tenacity, creativity, and an unwavering belief in oneself. Alexis Jackson, refinery29.com, 18 Oct. 2023 The answer, according to experts, is through a combination of guile, improvisation, tenacity and an important overseas benefactor. Brad Lendon, CNN, 11 Oct. 2023 When New England agriculture went into decline, the regional culture—mainly the urban artists, writers and poets of the mid-19th century—began to claim their stony fields and walls as symbols of their ancestors’ hard work and tenacity. Robert Thorson, Smithsonian Magazine, 14 Nov. 2023 Along the way, her tenacity, determination and acute sense of hustle have brought multiple chapters to her career. Jessica Nicholson, Billboard, 23 Oct. 2023 This year’s theme will also center on themes like resilience, self-care, and well-being to highlight the tenacity of black women throughout history. Melissa Noel, Essence, 3 Oct. 2023 But in eulogizing her Friday, colleagues remembered her tenacity in trying. Terry Castleman, Los Angeles Times, 29 Sep. 2023 Part of the appeal for some came from their sheer tenacity to pull looks directly from the runway that debuted just moments before. Kyle Lamar Rice, Rolling Stone, 12 Sep. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'tenacity.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English tenacite, borrowed from Middle French tenacité, borrowed from Latin tenācitāt-, tenācitās, from tenāc-, tenāx "holding fast, tenacious" + -itāt- -itās -ity

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near tenacity

Cite this Entry

“Tenacity.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tenacity. Accessed 4 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


te·​nac·​i·​ty tə-ˈnas-ət-ē How to pronounce tenacity (audio)
: the quality or state of being tenacious
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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