ten·​sile ˈten(t)-səl How to pronounce tensile (audio)
 also  ˈten-ˌsī(-ə)l
: capable of tension : ductile
: of, relating to, or involving tension
tensile stress
tensility noun

Example Sentences

the tensile strength of steel cable
Recent Examples on the Web There, hostile giant insects swarm about, and hungry, tensile vines are forever threatening to drag outsiders beneath the otherwise barren surface. Justin Changfilm Critic, Los Angeles Times, 13 June 2022 The finished car sits on a Lotus architecture which is more advanced than the underpinnings of any of its cousins, one that incorporates a new aluminum and high tensile steel structure and an 800-volt battery pack. Mike Duff, Car and Driver, 29 Mar. 2022 In Litchfield, the generally boxy and horizontal design schemes employed the same light, tensile quality of the architect's white structures in Europe. Troy Mcmullen, ABC News, 9 Nov. 2021 The unit itself features a large 42 inch HD touchscreen and a high tensile aluminum frame. Stefani Sassos, Ms, Rdn, Cso, Cdn, Nasm-cpt, Good Housekeeping, 24 June 2021 What results is a tough, flat battery cell that conducts well and holds up to tensile tests in all directions. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, 22 Mar. 2021 Common tensile strengths range from 17 to 250 pounds. The Editors, Field & Stream, 24 Sep. 2019 Hayashi, who studies the tensile properties of spider silks, now leaves her apartment only to feed her animals. The New Yorker, 27 Apr. 2020 This material has high tensile-impact and flexural strength. Craig Caudill, Outdoor Life, 13 Nov. 2019 See More

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

Word History


borrowed from New Latin tensilis, from Latin tendere "to extend outward, stretch" + -tilis "subject to, susceptible to (the action of the verb)" — more at tender entry 3

First Known Use

1626, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of tensile was in 1626

Dictionary Entries Near tensile

Cite this Entry

“Tensile.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tensile. Accessed 26 Nov. 2022.

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