tenuous

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

Definition of tenuous 

1a : having little substance or strength : flimsy, weak tenuous influences

b : shaky sense 2a tenuous reasons

2 : not thick : slender a tenuous rope

3 : not dense : rare a tenuous fluid

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Other Words from tenuous

tenuously adverb
tenuousness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for 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

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.

Examples of tenuous in a Sentence

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 After the end of the crusading period, however relations between East and West had grown tenuous — Albert Hourani, Islam in European Thought, 1991 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 He has a tenuous grasp on reality. The local theater has had a tenuous existence in recent years. He could demonstrate only a tenuous claim to ownership.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Maybe his future is too tenuous to hold that title. Chelsea Janes, chicagotribune.com, "Bryce Harper plays All-Star week host in a city he could soon be leaving," 13 July 2018 Royals rookie side-winder Tim Hill relinquished his team’s tenuous one-run lead in the seventh. Maria Torres, kansascity, "Royals bullpen, dormant offense spoil Danny Duffy's start in narrow loss to Twins," 9 July 2018 Ordering a mushroom taco ($4.50) will get you a corn tortilla stuffed with sautéed crimini and shiitake mushrooms mingled with silky queso fundido (cheese sauce), crunchy bits of bacon and a tenuous drizzle of smooth red salsa with a fiery kick. James Patrick Kelly, idahostatesman, "Boise’s trendy new taquerias redefine the taco – and diners get to taste the difference," 27 June 2018 Either route would make sense, and Collin Sexton could also be available here, though his fit with Monk is tenuous from a defensive standpoint. Jeremy Woo, SI.com, "2018 NBA Draft: Needs for All 30 Teams," 15 June 2018 Israeli aircraft struck back, hitting facilities belonging to militant groups, before a tenuous ceasefire took hold. The Economist, "Politics this week," 31 May 2018 As Galileo flew near the moon, its instruments detected significant, sudden changes in the magnetic field and charged particles around Europa—as if the spacecraft was passing through a tenuous cloud of material rising from below. Ramin Skibba, Scientific American, "Decades-Old Data Unveils Plumes Spewing from Europa," 14 May 2018 The film has the power to expose its audience’s own tenuous morality. Noel Murray, The Verge, "The First Purge’s release makes this a good weekend to watch Battle Royale on Netflix," 6 July 2018 Our letters — crossing not just the Atlantic Ocean but also the Iron Curtain — kept our tenuous relationship alive. Thomas Swick, Longreads, "Letters from Trenton," 5 July 2018

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.

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First Known Use of tenuous

1597, in the meaning defined at sense 3

History and Etymology for tenuous

Latin tenuis thin, slight, tenuous — more at thin

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Dictionary Entries near tenuous

tenuis

tenuity

tenulin

tenuous

tenure

tenure by free alms

tenured

Statistics for tenuous

Last Updated

12 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for tenuous

The first known use of tenuous was in 1597

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More Definitions for tenuous

tenuous

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of tenuous

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

: very thin

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