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

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 That was Mallory on the field, during the 60 minutes of football on Saturday: ferocious and full of tenacity. Corey Elliot, Indianapolis Star, "Former IU football coach Bill Mallory's 'true legacy is found in the lives he touched'," 2 June 2018 Instead, Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer started the Roldan brothers, Cristian and Alex, in the attacking midfield and saw their speed and tenacity largely overwhelm a porous Minnesota defense the opening 25 minutes. Geoff Baker, The Seattle Times, "With some big names on the bench, Sounders overwhelm Minnesota United for their first MLS win," 22 Apr. 2018 On Friday, in a scrimmage at the player development camp, Horton’s rawness and tenacity were on display. Mike Persak, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Panthers' Jake Horton has done everything to try to achieve his NHL dream," 29 June 2018 But along came the Russian stars Ovechkin and Kuznetsov, backed by a robust supporting cast that matched offensive prowess with discipline, structure and tenacity. Ben Shpigel, New York Times, "The Washington Capitals, After Years of Frustration, Win the Stanley Cup," 7 June 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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Statistics for tenacity

Last Updated

5 Dec 2018

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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

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


to move with a clumsy heavy tread

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