ten·​son | \ ˈten(t)sən \
variants: or less commonly tenso \ -​nˌsō \ or tenzon \ -​nzən \
plural -s

Definition of tenson

: a lyric poem of dispute composed by Provençal troubadours in which two opponents speak alternate stanzas, lines, or groups of lines usually identical in structure — compare débat, partimen

Love words?

You must — there are over 200,000 words in our free online dictionary, but you are looking for one that’s only in the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary.

Start your free trial today and get unlimited access to America's largest dictionary, with:

  • More than 250,000 words that aren't in our free dictionary
  • Expanded definitions, etymologies, and usage notes
  • Advanced search features
  • Ad free!

History and Etymology for tenson

tenson from French, from Middle French tençon, tenson, from Provençal tensoun; tenzon from Italian tenzone, from Provençal tensoun; tenso from Proverbs tensoun, tenso quarrel, contest, tenson, from Latin tension-, tensio tension

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about tenson

Statistics for tenson

Cite this Entry

“Tenson.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tenson. Accessed 20 Jan. 2021.

Comments on tenson

What made you want to look up tenson? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Words of Snow and Ice Quiz

  • image1037863653
  • Which of the following refers to thin, bending ice, or to the act of running over such ice?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!