tenure

noun

ten·​ure ˈten-yər How to pronounce tenure (audio)
 also  -ˌyu̇r
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
tenurable adjective
tenurial adjective
tenurially adverb

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 Resting beyond a brick walkway that opens into the original tiled courtyard via a sage-green door, the creamy stucco and terracotta-roof structure was built in the 1920s and extensively updated during Stone’s tenure. Wendy Bowman, Robb Report, 23 Feb. 2024 That’s quite the shift in under a decade; but just what has fueled Takeda’s transformation during Weber’s tenure? Chase Feiger, Forbes, 23 Feb. 2024 During his tenure, Sunday Morning reached new highs, including a ratings spike and three Daytime Emmy wins for Outstanding Morning Program. Ew Staff, EW.com, 23 Feb. 2024 The stock, which has outperformed the broader market and peers during his tenure, is trading at a record high. Bre Bradham, Fortune, 23 Feb. 2024 Gallagher, a Republican representing Wisconsin, has been a staunch supporter of Taiwan and a strong critic of China during his tenure in Congress. Eric Cheung, CNN, 22 Feb. 2024 Ryan believes the pandemic-era launch of the PlayStation 5 was the greatest challenge — yet the most rewarding achievement — of his 30-year tenure at Sony. Katcy Stephan, Variety, 21 Feb. 2024 While his tenure at Iona coincided with the beginning of the name, image and likeness era, Pitino has never had to develop a major-conference program in this environment. Paul Myerberg, USA TODAY, 20 Feb. 2024 Throughout their decades together, the couple have weathered both triumphs and challenges, including Michael's deployment during Nikki's tenure as South Carolina governor. Jessica Sager, Peoplemag, 20 Feb. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'tenure.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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.

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near tenure

Cite this Entry

“Tenure.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tenure. Accessed 29 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

tenure

noun
ten·​ure ˈten-yər How to pronounce tenure (audio)
: the act, right, manner, or term of holding something (as property, a position, or an office)
especially : a status granted after a trial period to a teacher that gives protection from dismissal except for serious cause determined by formal proceedings
tenurial
te-ˈnyu̇r-ē-əl
adjective

Legal Definition

tenure

noun
ten·​ure ˈten-yər How to pronounce tenure (audio)
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
tenurial adjective
tenurially adverb
Etymology

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

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