tension

noun
ten·sion | \ˈten(t)-shən \

Definition of tension 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : inner striving, unrest, or imbalance often with physiological indication of emotion

b : a state of latent hostility or opposition between individuals or groups

c : a balance maintained in an artistic work between opposing forces or elements

2a : the act or action of stretching or the condition or degree of being stretched to stiffness : tautness

b : stress sense 1b

3a : either of two balancing forces causing or tending to cause extension

b : the stress resulting from the elongation of an elastic body

4 : a device to produce a desired tension (as in a loom)

tension

verb
tensioned; tensioning\ˈten(t)-sh(ə-)niŋ \

Definition of tension (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to subject to tension especially : to tighten to a desired or appropriate degree

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Other Words from tension

Noun

tensional \ˈten(t)-sh(ə-)nəl \ adjective
tensionless \ˈten(t)-shən-ləs \ adjective

Verb

tensioner \ˈten(t)-sh(ə-)nər \ noun

Synonyms for tension

Synonyms: Noun

pressure, strain, stress

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Examples of tension in a Sentence

Noun

You can see she is just filled with tension about her job. The dramatic tension was very satisfying. The author resolves the tension too soon. Political tensions in the region make it unstable. Do you sense the tension between those two? There was a lot of tension at the meeting. The book describes the tension-filled days before the war. He felt a tension between duty and love. There will always be some tension between the desire to reduce risk and the desire to make as much money as possible.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Book choice in particular was a source of continuing tension. Amanda Laugesen, Smithsonian, "This Cold War-Era Publishing House Wanted To Share American Values With the World," 13 July 2018 The Nuggets can simply move forward—no harm, no foul—at the first sign of tension, shifting the full responsibility for this partnership’s success to Thomas. Ben Golliver, SI.com, "Grades: Isaiah Thomas Can Rejuvenate Career in Nuggets' Low-Risk Gamble," 13 July 2018 However, rumors flew of tension between Elizabeth and the First Lady. Elise Taylor, Vogue, "A Look Back at All of Queen Elizabeth's Presidential Meetings," 13 July 2018 For Europe as a whole, and particularly Germany, the big policy problem right now is the refugees and immigration, which is creating a huge deal of tension within the Merkel administration—that’s their priority. Heather Souvaine Horn, The New Republic, "Is It Fair for Trump to Bash NATO Over Military Spending?," 12 July 2018 As is often the case in restricted free agency, a natural level of tension has thus occurred with each side wanting to serve their best interests. Matt Velazquez, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "With recent additions, Bucks starting to take shape," 9 July 2018 The big point of tension is Alison finally talking about her son’s death in a substantive way. refinery29.com, "The Affair Season 4, Episode 4 Recap: Let’s Go With That," 9 July 2018 The alliance between the CSU and the CDU is decades old, but the issue of immigration has strained it to new levels of tension. Renae Reints, Fortune, "Merkel Continues to Clash with Interior Minister Over Immigration," 2 July 2018 After weeks of tension stoked by a Bavarian regional party that’s threatening to send back more asylum seekers at the border, its leaders met in Munich on Sunday to decide. Arne Delfs, Bloomberg.com, "Merkel Faces Crunch Time in Showdown on Migrant Policy," 1 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The rear corners and vestibules must be tensioned to maximize interior volume, vestibule volume, and weather resistance. Andrew Skurka, Outside Online, "Review: Big Agnes Tiger Wall Tents," 28 June 2018 Engineers not working on the project have speculated that the cracks may have led to adjusting the post-tensioning cables, which strengthen the concrete against the stress of being pulled, and caused the failure. Jenny Staletovich, miamiherald, "NTSB discloses new details about work performed before FIU bridge collapsed | Miami Herald," 21 Mar. 2018 Robert Accetta, the investigator-in-charge for the NTSB, said crews were applying post-tensioning force, but investigators aren’t sure if that’s what caused the bridge to fall. Adriana Gomez Licon, Time, "An Engineer Reported Cracks on FIU Bridge 2 Days Before Deadly Collapse. No One Got the Voicemail, Officials Say," 17 Mar. 2018 Robert Accetta, the investigator-in-charge for the NTSB, said crews were applying post-tensioning force, but investigators aren't sure if that's what caused the bridge to fall. Adriana Gomez Licon And Jennifer Kay, chicagotribune.com, "2 cars, 3 bodies removed from collapsed Miami bridge debris," 17 Mar. 2018 Robert Accetta, the investigator-in-charge for the NTSB, said crews were applying post-tensioning force, but investigators aren't sure if that's what caused the bridge to fall. Leada Gore, AL.com, "St. Patrick's Day 2018: Best Irish blessings, quotes, inspiration," 17 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tension.' 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 tension

Noun

1533, in the meaning defined at sense 2a

Verb

1891, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for tension

Noun

Middle French or Latin; Middle French, from Latin tension-, tensio, from tendere

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Phrases Related to tension

premenstrual tension

Statistics for tension

Last Updated

18 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for tension

The first known use of tension was in 1533

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More Definitions for tension

tension

noun

English Language Learners Definition of tension

: a feeling of nervousness that makes you unable to relax

: a feeling of nervousness, excitement, or fear that is created in a movie, book, etc.

: a state in which people, groups, countries, etc., disagree with and feel anger toward each other

tension

noun
ten·sion | \ˈten-shən \

Kids Definition of tension

1 : the act of straining or stretching : the condition of being strained or stretched I adjusted the strap's tension.

2 : a state of worry or nervousness

3 : a state of unfriendliness There was tension between the two groups.

tension

noun
ten·sion | \ˈten-chən \

Medical Definition of tension 

1a : the act or action of stretching or the condition or degree of being stretched to stiffness muscular tension

b : stress sense 1b

2a : either of two balancing forces causing or tending to cause extension

b : the stress resulting from the elongation of an elastic body

3 : inner striving, unrest, or imbalance often with physiological indication of emotion

Other Words from tension

tensional \ˈtench-nəl, -ən-ᵊl \ adjective
tensionless \ˈten-chən-ləs \ adjective

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Comments on tension

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