ten·​on | \ ˈte-nən How to pronounce tenon (audio) \

Definition of tenon

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a projecting member in a piece of wood or other material for insertion into a mortise to make a joint — see dovetail illustration


tenoned; tenoning; tenons

Definition of tenon (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to unite by a tenon
2 : to cut or fit for insertion in a mortise

Examples of tenon in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The use of long mortise-and-tenon joints and a developed internal structure point toward the Classical time period. Joshua Hawkins, BGR, 20 July 2022 Then, lay out the angled shoulder and cut the finished tenon with a sharp backsaw [21]. Neal Barrett, Popular Mechanics, 31 July 2021 Readjust the blade height to cut the shoulder at the top and bottom edge of each tenon. Neal Barrett, Popular Mechanics, 31 July 2021 Cut the tenon into the top of each leg with a table saw. Neal Barrett, Popular Mechanics, 31 July 2021 Its builders used mortise-and-tenon joints and constructed the vessel partly out of reused wood, suggesting that it was made in Egypt. Livia Gershon, Smithsonian Magazine, 21 July 2021 The barrel tenon is cut oversized for a perfect receiver fit, then the receiver is deburred, squared, and the barrel hole is recut straight. Michael R. Shea, Field & Stream, 22 Feb. 2021 Test fit each joint and, if necessary, lightly pare down the tenon for a proper fit. Neal Barrett, Popular Mechanics, 14 Nov. 2020 Even more strength comes from the tenon that connects the handle to the uprights. Bradley Ford, Popular Mechanics, 25 Feb. 2020 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tenon.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of tenon


14th century, in the meaning defined above


1596, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for tenon


Middle English tenoun, tenowne, borrowed from Anglo-French tenoun, from tenir "to hold" + -on, suffix of agent or instrument, going back to Latin -ōn-, -ō, suffix of nouns denoting persons with a prominent feature — more at tenant entry 1


derivative of tenon entry 1

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Time Traveler for tenon

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The first known use of tenon was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

3 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Tenon.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tenon. Accessed 12 Aug. 2022.

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