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

And as both teams’ seasons wind down, Young appears to be no worse for wear, with a few basic tenets helping him through. Wright Wilson, Detroit Free Press, "Long-time coach Nkwane Young balancing two basketball coaching jobs," 4 Mar. 2018 But their only true allegiance is to whatever is funniest; their only tenet is that everything and everyone has the potential to suck equally. Todd Vanderwerff, Vox, "Alt-right internet mobs are attacking celebrities with their own jokes. The irony is stark.," 27 July 2018 President Donald Trump has made bringing back the coal industry and abundant coal jobs a tenet of his administration. Matthew Daly, The Seattle Times, "US coal consumption drops to lowest level since 1979," 5 Dec. 2018 The tenets of the nonpartisan PAC, called Your Houston, will center around issues of quality of life, resiliency, mobility and neighborhoods. Nancy Sarnoff, Houston Chronicle, "Houston Realtor Bill Baldwin launches quality of life PAC," 19 June 2018 The tenets of the ancients give his works gas: Nature is generative; painting aims not to depict it, but to embody it. Cate Mcquaid, BostonGlobe.com, "Cao Jun: the dance and the chance of it," 28 Mar. 2018 Despite its Western pedigree, there’s no reason these tenets wouldn’t roughly apply to Chinese cities and those who dwell there. Adam Greenfield, The Atlantic, "China's Dystopian Tech Could Be Contagious," 14 Feb. 2018 The simple tenets of their philosophy under Pederson sound lofty, like a high school graduation speech. David Haugh, chicagotribune.com, "Bears can learn from the Eagles by taking a 'Philly Special' mindset," 5 Feb. 2018 Absentee voters currently must be at least 60 years old, be out of town when the polls are open or be unable to vote on Election Day due to a physical disability, religious tenets or incarceration. David Eggert, Detroit Free Press, "Group submits signatures for ballot measure to expand voting in Michigan," 9 July 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

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

23 Apr 2019

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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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