Definition of tension
1a : inner striving, unrest, or imbalance often with physiological indication of emotionb : a state of latent hostility or opposition between individuals or groupsc : a balance maintained in an artistic work between opposing forces or elements
3a : either of two balancing forces causing or tending to cause extensionb : the stress resulting from the elongation of an elastic body
4 : a device to produce a desired tension (as in a loom)
tensionalplay \ˈten(t)-sh(ə-)nəl\ adjective
tensionlessplay \ˈten(t)-shən-ləs\ adjective
Examples of tension in a Sentence
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.
Recent Examples of tension from the Web
Instead, when tensions have heightened in recent months Pakistan has banned Indian films, while India has abruptly sent home Pakistani schoolchildren on a goodwill tour and denied visas to Pakistanis seeking medical care.
Tensions flared last month in the southernmost part of Tibet in an area also claimed by Indian ally Bhutan, after Chinese teams began building a road onto the Doklam Plateau.
That in itself could embolden Mirotic to push for a bigger deal than his play would otherwise command, adding some tension to an otherwise stale negotiating period.
Tillerson has also proposed measures to ease tension, including the suspension of hostile media campaigns by both sides, the official said.
Tension compacts are not as ubiquitous as cushion compacts, but the two are similar.
Staples' energy was raw but his stage design was muted to the point of non-existent, producing a nice tension. 4.
This latest teaser trailer gives a little bit of information, showing mob tension, the community standards (or lack thereof) in New York, and Gyllenhaal's life on the street.
After years of increasing tension, Ohio's GOP lawmakers finally appear poised to override fellow Republican Gov. John Kasich's vetoes – not just once, but many times.
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.
Origin and Etymology of tension
Middle French or Latin; Middle French, from Latin tension-, tensio, from tendere
First Known Use: 1533See Words from the same year
First Known Use of tension
TENSION Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of tension for English Language Learners
: 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 Defined for Kids
Definition of tension for Students
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.
Medical Definition of tension
1a: the act or action of stretching or the condition or degree of being stretched to stiffness muscular tensionb: stress 1b
2a: either of two balancing forces causing or tending to cause extensionb: the stress resulting from the elongation of an elastic body
3: inner striving, unrest, or imbalance often with physiological indication of emotion
tensional\ˈtench-nəl, -ən-əl\play adjective
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up tension? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).