tenterhook

noun
ten·ter·hook | \ ˈten-tər-ˌhu̇k \

Definition of tenterhook 

: 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

China’s tech businesses have been on tenterhooks in recent months. Yoko Kubota, WSJ, "Trade War Punctures China’s Pride in Its Technology," 28 June 2018 Hondurans have been on tenterhooks since last year, when T.P.S. designation for their country was up for renewal. Miriam Jordan, New York Times, "Trump Administration Ends Protected Status for Thousands of Hondurans," 4 May 2018 Herein lies dark soundscaping, tropicalia on tenterhooks, broken beat, Tuareg melodies, Bahía drumming. New York Times, "The Playlist: Christina Aguilera’s Bizarre Puzzle, and 13 More New Songs," 4 May 2018 While that's left traders on tenterhooks, some are arguing conditions are ripe for a market rebound. Andreea Papuc, Bloomberg.com, "Five Things You Need to Know to Start Your Day," 25 Mar. 2018 In Westchester, however, the Senate contest between Assemblywoman Shelley B. Mayer, a Democrat, and Julie Killian, a Republican and former deputy mayor in Rye, has both parties on tenterhooks. Lisa W. Foderaro, New York Times, "Special Elections in New York on Tuesday Will Decide 11 Races," 22 Apr. 2018 The world was on tenterhooks until the following morning, waiting to see if, and how, the president would tweet in response to the entire situation. Graeme Mcmillan, WIRED, "While You Were Offline: The Final Days of Paul Ryan," 15 Apr. 2018 Specifically, Remington — indeed, the entire firearms industry — is on tenterhooks waiting for a potential landmark ruling from the Connecticut Supreme Court. Michael Hiltzik, latimes.com, "Is the Sandy Hook massacre the real impetus behind the Remington Arms bankruptcy?," 27 Mar. 2018 The industry was on tenterhooks awaiting the catch information, which typically is announced by the International Pacific Halibut Commission in late January. Laine Welch, Anchorage Daily News, "Decline in Pacific halibut fishery not as severe as feared," 26 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tenterhook.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of tenterhook

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about tenterhook

Share tenterhook

Dictionary Entries near tenterhook

tented wagon

tenter

tenterer

tenterhook

tenth

tenth card

tenthly

Statistics for tenterhook

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for tenterhook

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

See more words from the same century

More from Merriam-Webster on tenterhook

See words that rhyme with tenterhook

Comments on tenterhook

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

WORD OF THE DAY

to deposit or conceal in a hiding place

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Food Quiz

Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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