ten·​ure | \ ˈten-yər How to pronounce tenure (audio) also -ˌyu̇r \

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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from tenure

tenurable \ ˈten-​yər-​ə-​bəl How to pronounce tenure (audio) \ adjective
tenurial \ te-​ˈnyu̇r-​ē-​əl How to pronounce tenure (audio) \ adjective
tenurially \ te-​ˈnyu̇r-​ē-​ə-​lē How to pronounce tenure (audio) \ adverb

Synonyms for tenure


Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of tenure in a Sentence

… 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 Wooten, New York Times Magazine, 29 Jan. 1995 Pittsburgh's offensive linemen, trap blockers during Noll's tenure, had to bulk up for the straight-ahead game. — Paul Zimmerman, Sports Illustrated, 9 Nov. 1992 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 McPhee, New Yorker, 22 Feb. 1988 During his tenure as head coach, the team won the championship twice. her 12-year tenure with the company His tenure in office will end with the next election. After seven years I was finally granted tenure. He hopes to get tenure next year. The defendant did not have tenure on the land. land tenure in Anglo-Saxon Britain
See More
Recent Examples on the Web But the Big Ten went outside the family and hired Kevin Warren from the Minnesota Vikings, whose tenure has been less than impressive thus far. Jon Wilner | Bay Area News Group, oregonlive, "There are qualified internal candidates for Pac-12 commissioner, but the politics are thorny," 12 Feb. 2021 What led to the demise of Mark Dantonio’s legendary tenure will be perhaps the biggest challenge for Mel Tucker in his second year as head coach. Chris Solari, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan State football must score — a lot more — to climb to top of Big Ten," 13 Jan. 2021 Wolf’s tenure at DHS was short but included a number of achievements for the Trump administration, as well as lawsuits waged by liberal organizations. Anna Giaritelli, Washington Examiner, "Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf stepping down from Trump administration," 11 Jan. 2021 Before his team played Oregon seven years ago, Brown knew without a doubt his Texas tenure was over. Mike Finger, ExpressNews.com, "Finger: As Texas makes a return to Alamo, a standard remains elusive," 28 Dec. 2020 Jalen Hurts’ tenure with the Philadelphia Eagles has been a lightning road for social-media outbursts and traditional-media commentary from the beginning. Mark Inabinett | Minabinett@al.com, al, "Philadelphia QB Jalen Hurts staying away from the ‘rat poison’," 24 Dec. 2020 His tenure is subject to the nine-member Board of Governors. Alana Abramson, Time, "The Postal Service Delivered On Election Day. But the Agency Remains in Peril," 22 Dec. 2020 But his tenure was not without controversy, with some saying his lack of experience was an issue. Patrick Mcgreevy, Los Angeles Times, "Meet Alex Padilla, California’s first Latino U.S. senator and a rising political star since his 20s," 22 Dec. 2020 DeVos’s tenure has been unprecedented in many ways, from her outsider status to her contentious confirmation to the devastating pandemic that upended American education over the last year. Frederick M. Hess, National Review, "Betsy DeVos Speaks Out on Four Years of ‘Truly Disheartening’ Attacks," 17 Dec. 2020

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.

See More

First Known Use of tenure

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for tenure

Middle English, "possession of land under obligation to a superior, the land so held," borrowed from Anglo-French tenure, teneure, going back to Gallo-Romance *tenitūra "act of possessing," from Latin ten-, base of tenēre "to hold, possess" + -it-, generalized from past participles ending in -itus + -ūra -ure — more at tenant entry 1

Note: A number of renderings of the word in Medieval Latin from the 11th century on (as tenetura, tenatura, tentura, tenura, etc.) may reflect stages in the passage from Latin to French or attempts to Latinize a vernacular form.

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about tenure

Time Traveler for tenure

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for tenure

Last Updated

23 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Tenure.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tenure. Accessed 2 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLA Chicago APA Merriam-Webster

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for tenure



English Language Learners Definition of tenure

: 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


ten·​ure | \ ˈten-yər How to pronounce tenure (audio) \

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

Other Words from tenure

tenurial \ te-​ˈnyu̇r-​ē-​əl How to pronounce tenure (audio) \ adjective
tenurially \ -​ə-​lē How to pronounce tenure (audio) \ adverb

History and Etymology for tenure

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on tenure

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


Test Your Vocabulary

February 2021 Words of the Day Quiz

  • squirrel in winter
  • Which is a synonym of perdure?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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