tension

noun
ten·​sion | \ ˈten(t)-shən How to pronounce tension (audio) \

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
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 How to pronounce tensioning (audio) \

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 How to pronounce tensional (audio) \ adjective
tensionless \ ˈten(t)-​shən-​ləs How to pronounce tensionless (audio) \ adjective

Verb

tensioner \ ˈten(t)-​sh(ə-​)nər How to pronounce tensioner (audio) \ 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

While tension was mounting, Miguel decided to start a game in attempt to keep everyone distracted/from exploding on each other. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "'This Is Us' Fans Are Furious With Miguel After Watching the Latest Episode," 13 Mar. 2019 The tension between a pair of Ford drivers is the fallout from a disappointing Daytona 500 for the blue oval brand. Jenna Fryer, The Seattle Times, "McDowell defends Daytona 500 decision not to push Logano," 19 Feb. 2019 The tension is especially high in Europe’s east, where some government leaders feel they are only now poised to seriously benefit from Chinese investment and trade. Drew Hinshaw, WSJ, "U.S. Campaign Against Huawei Faces Challenge in Eastern Europe," 10 Feb. 2019 Which means all this tension between him and Beth wasn't even worth it. Candice Frederick, Harper's BAZAAR, "This is Us Season 3 Episode 10: Randall Wins the Race as He and Beth Reach an Impasse," 16 Jan. 2019 The seating arrangement had Twitter users speculating about possible tensions, but the Shayk's reaction to the duo's set just shut all of that gossip down. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Irina Shayk Reacted to Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga's "Shallow" Performance in the Best Way," 25 Feb. 2019 India and Pakistan have both recalled their ambassadors since the attack, and Pakistan called on the U.N. to help defuse tensions. Munir Ahmed, The Seattle Times, "Pakistani PM willing to talk but warns India not to attack," 20 Feb. 2019 While the Ynaa come in peace, tensions arise as an islander is murdered, and as his brother responds in kind. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "All the science fiction and fantasy books we’re looking forward to in 2019," 30 Dec. 2018 Calvin Klein Calvin Klein Simons’s departure from Calvin Klein represents a constant tension within the fashion industry: wanting to offer fashion-forward merchandise while also selling to a large customer base. Chavie Lieber, Vox, "The Calvin Klein brand hired big-name fashion designer Raf Simons to build relevancy. Now he’s out.," 27 Dec. 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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Statistics for tension

Last Updated

22 Mar 2019

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 How to pronounce tension (audio) \

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 How to pronounce tension (audio) \

Medical Definition of tension

1a : the act or action of stretching or the condition or degree of being stretched to stiffness muscular tension
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 How to pronounce tensional (audio) \ adjective
tensionless \ ˈten-​chən-​ləs How to pronounce tensionless (audio) \ adjective

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Comments on tension

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