te·​net | \ ˈte-nət also ˈtē-nət \

Definition of tenet

: a principle, belief, or doctrine generally held to be true especially : one held in common by members of an organization, movement, or profession

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Tenets vs. Tenants

Thanks to its confusingly similar pronunciation, tenant (“occupant, land-holder”) is sometimes erroneously used in place of tenet (“principle, doctrine”). Consider this example:

One of the ancient tenants of the Buddist [sic] belief is, “He who sits still, wins” –Police, January/February 1968

You will probably never make the opposite mistake (that is, substitute tenet for tenant), but if you think you might, remember that tenant and occupant both end in -ant.

Examples of tenet in a Sentence

the central tenets of a religion one of the basic tenets of the fashion industry

Recent Examples on the Web

Charity is a central tenet; their partnership with Children in The Wilderness provides educational programs for children in rural Africa to help raise awareness about sustainable conservation. Virginia Van Zanten, Vogue, "Why Botswana Should Top Your Travel List in 2019," 27 Dec. 2018 Mandatory sanctions on anyone who attacks our electoral systems serve as the best deterrent, which is the central tenet of the bipartisan DETER Act. Sean Gallagher, Ars Technica, "Trump signs order authorizing “automatic” sanctions for election interference [Updated]," 12 Sep. 2018 The Believers Bail Out highlights not only a political and social movement in this country, but a tenet of Islam, dating back to the time of Prophet Muhammad. Manya Brachear Pashman, chicagotribune.com, "A Muslim charity joins the campaign against mass incarceration," 14 June 2018 Using it early and often has become an increasingly popular tenet of managing, and Kapler has embraced that strategy to its fullest. Jon Tayler, SI.com, "Phillies Manager Gabe Kapler Is Off to a Brutal Start, But It's Just the Beginning of His Experiment," 4 Apr. 2018 The Book of Revelations helped establish a key tenet: that before the return of Christ there would be immense turmoil and tribulation. Liya Rechtman, BostonGlobe.com, "When the apocalypse is a feature, not a bug," 12 May 2018 Akima's actions -- forcing Juli to resign out of fear of unlawful retaliation by the government -- violated the basic tenets of Virginia employment law. Aileen Graef, CNN, "Woman who claims she was fired for flipping off Trump motorcade sues former employer," 4 Apr. 2018 For example, Comcast agreed to follow the basic tenets of net neutrality, promising not to block or throttle lawful content, including competitors like Netflix. Klint Finley, WIRED, "The Comcast-NBC Merger Offers Little Guidance for AT&T-Time Warner," 3 Apr. 2018 In that case, U.S. District Judge James E. Boasberg said the Trump administration never adequately considered whether the changes would comply with the central tenet of Medicaid: Providing health care for its citizens. Bruce Schreiner, The Seattle Times, "Kentucky governor loses another round in Medicaid fight," 20 Aug. 2018

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

circa 1600, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for tenet

Latin, he holds, from tenēre to hold

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Last Updated

8 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for tenet

The first known use of tenet was circa 1600

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English Language Learners Definition of tenet

: a belief or idea that is very important to a group

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More from Merriam-Webster on tenet

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with tenet

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for tenet

Spanish Central: Translation of tenet

Nglish: Translation of tenet for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of tenet for Arabic Speakers

Comments on tenet

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someone who never drinks alcohol

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