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 Armed with nothing but tenacity and moral certitude, the surgeons painstakingly piece together Duntsch's history of dangerous incompetence. Kristen Baldwin, EW.com, 8 July 2021 No other sport so compellingly combines individual grace, physical intensity, and psychological tenacity. Mark Nevins, Forbes, 5 July 2021 The reigning Big East Sixth Woman of the Year, Edwards impressed during her freshman season with her physicality, tenacity and effectiveness in the paint, averaging 10.7 points and 5.7 rebounds per game. Alexa Philippou, courant.com, 2 July 2021 Ravarino said Lawrence would also be a great case study on mental tenacity. Julie Jag, The Salt Lake Tribune, 21 June 2021 The courage, ingenuity and tenacity of this hero freed hundreds of slaves and changed history forever. Victoria Priola, cleveland, 19 June 2021 Perhaps to Shanahan’s point, the Leafs did miss a certain tenacity from their top forwards. BostonGlobe.com, 5 June 2021 Rodriquez’s role as Blanca, in particular, embodied the hopes and tenacity of many trans men and women. Malik Peay, Essence, 3 June 2021 Eventually, a combination of luck and tenacity birthed the New York Mills Regional Cultural Center. Washington Post, 1 June 2021

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

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

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Time Traveler for tenacity

Time Traveler

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

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Last Updated

14 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Tenacity.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tenacity. Accessed 23 Jul. 2021.

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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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