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

Chassis maintenance includes new ball joints and tie-rod ends plus fresh bushings for the lower control arms, sway bar, and tension rod. Andrew Wendler, Car and Driver, "Lime-Yellow 1973 Datsun 240Z up for Auction Is the Cleanest We've Seen outside a Museum," 12 May 2019 The Bank of Thailand left interest rates unchanged Wednesday against a backdrop of weak inflation and a subdued economic-growth outlook amid global uncertainty stemming from U.S.-China trade tensions. Saurabh Chaturvedi, WSJ, "Bank of Thailand Keeps Benchmark Rate Unchanged at 1.75%," 8 May 2019 America’s carriers were there to oppose that declaration, and for days, fighters from both countries danced in an airborne extension of diplomatic tensions until two U.S. fighters entered into a deadly dogfight. Alex Hollings, Popular Mechanics, "Why the F-14 Tomcat Is Such a Badass Plane," 3 May 2019 Dealing with Paola's best friend, Juan While the couple may agree to disagree on modeling, another huge source of tension came from Paola's best friend, Juan. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "What '90 Day Fiancé: Happily Ever After?' Stars Paola and Russ Are Actually Like Off Camera," 27 Apr. 2019 The charges, announced after the US government unsealed an indictment against the two individuals on Thursday, come at a time of high tension between the US and China. Sean O'kane, The Verge, "Chinese hackers charged with stealing data from NASA, IBM, and others," 20 Dec. 2018 Driving the glut are cheese makers who ramped up production before trade tensions abroad tamped down demand for many of their products. Recode Staff, Recode, "Recode Daily: The NAACP’s weeklong boycott of Facebook and Instagram begins today," 18 Dec. 2018 So when Adora leaves the evil army, there's sure to be plenty of tension between the two former best friends. Gabe Bergado, Teen Vogue, ""She-Ra and the Princesses of Power" Teaser Trailer Shows Adora Transforming Into the Iconic Warrior," 10 Sep. 2018 The cool tip at the top of the brush gives an ergonomic place to grab with your opposite hand, which keeps the tension while styling and mitigates the weight of the tool. Jessica Teich, Good Housekeeping, "This Insanely Popular Hair Dryer Is the Perfect Last-Minute Mother's Day Gift," 26 Apr. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Big Agnes’ marketing material will often reference the Tiger Wall’s trail weight, but this is not a practical weight, since its performance is greatly diminished if the rear corners and vestibules are not tensioned. Andrew Skurka, Outside Online, "Review: Big Agnes Tiger Wall Tents," 28 June 2018 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

borrowed from Middle French and Latin; Middle French, borrowed from Latin tensiōn-, tensiō "process of drawing tight, constriction, spasm," from tendere "to extend outward, stretch, draw tight" + -tiōn-, -tiō, suffix of verbal action — more at tender entry 3

Verb

derivative of tension entry 1

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Statistics for tension

Last Updated

17 May 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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