ten·​ter·​hook ˈten-tər-ˌhu̇k How to pronounce tenterhook (audio)
: a sharp hooked nail used especially for fastening cloth on a tenter
on tenterhooks
: in a state of uneasiness, strain, or suspense
the waiting kept us on tenterhooks

Examples of tenterhook in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Instead of leaving an audience on tenterhooks, we’re left only to shrug. Nina Metz, Chicago Tribune, 9 June 2023 There's a tentative deal on the debt ceiling, but the markets are still on tenterhooks. WSJ, 30 May 2023 The same core technologies that allow a Silicon Valley software developer to move to Colorado and work from a mountain retreat keep Starbucks baristas and home health care workers on tenterhooks. Fred Turner, New York Times, 12 Apr. 2023 But Europe is set to remain on tenterhooks through the winter, with surging prices ravaging its economies. Elena Mazneva, Bloomberg.com, 2 Sep. 2022 The Mobile Alabama shipyard has been on tenterhooks since early 2019, when federal agents first stormed the shipyard. Craig Hooper, Forbes, 2 Apr. 2023 Without the visceral urgency of a dangerous virus — or a sitting president who tweets erratically late into the night — America’s news obsessives may simply feel more comfortable changing the channel in the evenings rather than waiting on tenterhooks for the latest development. Michael M. Grynbaum, New York Times, 16 Mar. 2023 Many of Germany’s two million migrants from Turkey live on tenterhooks. Can Dündar, Time, 25 Feb. 2020 This news ought to have the top three players on tenterhooks. Tim Culpan | Bloomberg, Washington Post, 25 July 2019 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'tenterhook.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of tenterhook was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near tenterhook

Cite this Entry

“Tenterhook.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tenterhook. Accessed 5 Dec. 2023.

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