noun ten·ure \ ˈten-yər also -ˌyu̇r \
|Updated on: 4 Aug 2018

Definition of tenure

1 : the act, right, manner, or term of holding something (such as a landed property, a position, or an office); especially : a status granted after a trial period to a teacher that gives protection from summary dismissal
2 : grasp, hold


play \ˈten-yər-ə-bəl\ adjective


play \te-ˈnyu̇r-ē-əl\ adjective


play \te-ˈnyu̇r-ē-ə-lē\ adverb

Examples of tenure in a Sentence

  1. … but there is also about it just the trace of the nettlesome righteousness that alienated much of Washington during his tenure there, the not-so-subtle suggestion that while he might be in politics, he is not of politics and certainly not, God_forbid, a politician. —Jim WootenNew York Times Magazine29 Jan. 1995
  2. Pittsburgh's offensive linemen, trap blockers during Noll's tenure, had to bulk up for the straight-ahead game. —Paul ZimmermanSports Illustrated9 Nov. 1992
  3. A mural on the upper half of a four-story guesthouse was painted in 1977 by twelve-year-old schoolchildren, whose tenure on the scaffold must have thrilled their parents. —John McPheeNew Yorker22 Feb. 1988
  4. During his tenure as head coach, the team won the championship twice.

  5. her 12-year tenure with the company

  6. His tenure in office will end with the next election.

  7. After seven years I was finally granted tenure.

  8. He hopes to get tenure next year.

  9. The defendant did not have tenure on the land.

  10. land tenure in Anglo-Saxon Britain

Recent Examples of tenure from the Web

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

Origin and Etymology of tenure

Middle English, from Anglo-French teneure, tenure, from Medieval Latin tenitura, from Vulgar Latin *tenitus, past participle of Latin tenēre to hold — more at thin

tenure Synonyms

TENURE Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of tenure for English Language Learners

  • : the amount of time that a person holds a job, office, or title

  • : the right to keep a job (especially the job of being a professor at a college or university) for as long as you want to have it

  • law : the right to use property

Law Dictionary


noun ten·ure \ ˈten-yər \

legal Definition of tenure

1 : the act, manner, duration, or right of holding something
  • tenure of office
; specifically : the manner of holding real property : the title and conditions by which property is held
  • freehold tenure
2 : a status granted to a teacher usually after a probationary period that protects him or her from dismissal except for reasons of incompetence, gross misconduct, or financial necessity


play \te-ˈnyu̇r-ē-əl\ adjective


play \-ə-lē\ adverb

Origin and Etymology of tenure

Anglo-French, feudal holding, from Old French teneüre, from Medieval Latin tenitura, ultimately from Latin tenēre to hold

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