tenet

noun
te·​net | \ ˈte-nət also ˈtē-nət How to pronounce tenet (audio) \

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

Buying from only one manufacturer has been a central tenet of Southwest’s business plan since founder Herb Kelleher bought his first 737s in 1971. Dominic Gates, The Seattle Times, "737 MAX crisis prompts Southwest pilots to question its all-Boeing fleet," 12 Apr. 2019 The central insight most political analysts claim to offer about electoral upsets—and a central tenet of the self-understanding of the insurgents themselves—is that voters are reclaiming national... Joseph C. Sternberg, WSJ, "Taking Back Some Other Guy’s Control," 28 Feb. 2019 Still, sports of all strokes remain a central tenet of his brand—and not just because the designer feels an affinity to the rigor, unity, and strength that sports require. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "Thom Browne’s New Golf Capsule Collection Is a Stroke Above the Rest," 30 Oct. 2018 Last year, the government gave its official support to the tenets of No Notoriety. Michelle Ruiz, Vogue, "Why New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern Isn’t Breathing the Name of the Christchurch Attacker," 20 Mar. 2019 The food is fantastic—made using the freshest ingredients and adhering to the tenets of the Slow Food movement. Laura Itzkowitz, Condé Nast Traveler, "5 Best Day Trips from Rome," 5 Mar. 2018 For decades, a main tenet of diabetes management has been the importance of controlling the amount of glucose in the blood. Lenny Bernstein, Washington Post, "Many Type 2 diabetics can relax their blood sugar control, doctors group says," 5 Mar. 2018 Whether lawmakers will approve the plan is another question, as many of the core tenets of the governor’s proposal are politically unpalatable. Sarah Zimmerman, The Seattle Times, "Brown releases plan to offset rising school pension costs," 12 Apr. 2019 One of the tenets of his campaign is a promise to combine government incentives and regulations to push for a greener economy, in order to tackle both climate change and economic stagnation at the same time. Roxanne Adamiyatt, Town & Country, "Everything You Need to Know About Potential Future First Lady Trudi Inslee," 10 Apr. 2019

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

borrowed from Latin, "(s/he) holds," 3rd person singular present tense of tenēre "to hold, possess" — more at tenant entry 1

Note: Probably from the use of tenet in Latin texts as the opening verb in the statement of a principle or doctrine held by the person or body in question; cf. tenent (Latin, "they hold") used in the 16th to 18th centuries in the same sense.

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Statistics for tenet

Last Updated

11 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for tenet

The first known use of tenet was circa 1600

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More Definitions for tenet

tenet

noun

English Language Learners Definition of tenet

formal : 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

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