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

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 By taking the complaint seriously, Harvard puts its commitment to identity politics above the core tenets of due process. Heather Mac Donald, WSJ, "Triggered by Weinstein’s Harvard Lawyer," 18 Mar. 2019 And deep breaths, of course, are one of the great tenets of mindfulness. April Long, Marie Claire, "Aromatherapy Perfumes: Do They Really Work?," 20 Feb. 2019 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

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

14 May 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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