Definition of tension
2a : either of two balancing forces causing or tending to cause extensionb : the stress resulting from the elongation of an elastic body
3a : 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
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.
Origin and Etymology of tension
Medieval French or Latin; Medieval French, from Latin tension-, tensio, from tendere
First Known Use: 1533
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 tension>b: 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).