tenuous

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adjective ten·u·ous \ˈten-yə-wəs, -yü-əs\

Definition of tenuous

  1. 1a :  having little substance or strength :  flimsy, weak tenuous influencesb :  shaky 2a tenuous reasons

  2. 2 :  not thick :  slender a tenuous rope

  3. 3 :  not dense :  rare a tenuous fluid

tenuously

adverb

tenuousness

noun

Examples of tenuous in a Sentence

  1. What is also true is that they, and I, were lucky, through genes or fate, to surge through the maelstrom of dashed hope and denied opportunity to grasp a tenuous piece of the American Dream. —Anthony Walton, Lure and Loathing, 1993

  2. After the end of the crusading period, however relations between East and West had grown tenuous … —Albert Hourani, Islam in European Thought, 1991

  3. The authors follow researchers as they use the slimmest leads and the most tenuous connections to track the genes for Huntington's disease, muscular dystrophy, schizophrenia and a host of other physical and mental miseries. —Natalie Angier, New York Times Book Review, 12 Aug. 1990

  4. He has a tenuous grasp on reality.

  5. The local theater has had a tenuous existence in recent years.

  6. He could demonstrate only a tenuous claim to ownership.

Recent Examples of tenuous from the Web

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

What is the Definition of tenuous?

Something tenuous has been stretched thin and might break at any time. A person with a tenuous hold on his sanity should be watched carefully. If a business is only tenuously surviving, it will probably go bankrupt in the next recession. If there seems to be only a tenuous connection between two crimes, it means the investigators have more work to do.

Origin and Etymology of tenuous

Latin tenuis thin, slight, tenuous — more at thin

Synonym Discussion of tenuous

thin, slender, slim, slight, tenuous mean not thick, broad, abundant, or dense. thin implies comparatively little extension between surfaces or in diameter, or it may imply lack of substance, richness, or abundance. thin wire a thin soup slender implies leanness or spareness often with grace and good proportion. the slender legs of a Sheraton chair slim applies to slenderness that suggests fragility or scantiness. a slim volume of poetry a slim chance slight implies smallness as well as thinness. a slight build tenuous implies extreme thinness, sheerness, or lack of substance and firmness. a tenuous thread

TENUOUS Defined for English Language Learners

tenuous

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adjective

Definition of tenuous for English Language Learners

  • : not certain, definite, or strong : flimsy, weak, or uncertain

  • : very thin



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