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
The tension between Mr. Trump, who appears determined to make an example of Qatar, and Mr. Tillerson, who has taken a more pragmatic stance, has hobbled efforts by American officials to resolve the dispute.
From Moscow’s point of view, since Trump took office, the relationship has gone from abysmal to worse, amid growing tensions over the increasingly assertive role of the U.S. military in Syria.
The incident spurred protests, and racial tension continues to linger to the point that the City Council this week formed a task force on race and culture that is charged with finding solutions to the ongoing issue. ‘
Every night is a release of all these tensions that have accumulated throughout the day, throughout our lives, throughout hundreds of years of colonialism and racism.
That includes $340 million for construction of South Carolina's Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility, a perennial source of tension between Congress and the executive branch (Greenwire, June 27).
Hope and tension thus rule the courtroom (a clever set by Jessica Ford).
Republicans always need to do reasonably well with populists, which is why there’s always a tension between the pro-government leanings of a large number of their voters and the anti-government tilt of the party agenda.
There have long been tensions in federal control of Western land, dating back to the Sagebrush Rebellion movement of the 1970's and 1980's.
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
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