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

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 tenurable (audio) \ adjective
tenurial \ te-​ˈnyu̇r-​ē-​əl How to pronounce tenurial (audio) \ adjective
tenurially \ te-​ˈnyu̇r-​ē-​ə-​lē How to pronounce tenurially (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 During his 12-year tenure at Walmart, Mr. Glass built on the success of its founder, Sam Walton. New York Times, "David Glass, Walmart Boss and K.C. Royals Owner, Dies at 84," 21 Jan. 2020 Fresh off a joint endorsement with Elizabeth Warren from The New York Times, Klobuchar defended herself by saying there was actually a reduction in African-American incarceration rates during her tenure. Natalie Gontcharova, refinery29.com, "Wealth Tax, Weed & Black Twitter: Here’s What Happened At The VICE Brown & Black Democratic Presidential Forum," 21 Jan. 2020 But subverting expectations is Anderson’s thing: While many have called fashion’s current creative director model a failure, citing burnout and ever-shifting brand identities, his tenure at Loewe suggests the opposite. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "“I’m Not Here to Please an Industry, I’m Here to Challenge It”: A Career-Spanning Conversation with Jonathan Anderson," 18 Jan. 2020 She’s brought in 14 National Cheer Association Junior College Division National Championships and five Grand National Titles during her tenure. Megan Stein, Country Living, "Who Is 'Cheer' Coach Monica Aldama? Why Everyone's Talking About Netflix's New Star," 18 Jan. 2020 Over his tenure at Drexel, Nwankpa had landed more than $10 million in federal grants for the university. Madison Dibble, Washington Examiner, "Professor charged with theft after spending $96,000 in federal grants on strippers," 17 Jan. 2020 Turner’s older sisters, Siobhan and Raniece, played for Keane during his tenure at Wilmington. Greg Levinsky, BostonGlobe.com, "At Malden Catholic, underclassmen bring a pioneering spirit to the court," 15 Jan. 2020 Teany, Howard Conley and Mike King coached with Davis throughout his tenure at Plainfield. Kyle Neddenriep, Indianapolis Star, ""Red Pride" became a Plainfield football mantra under Kermit Davis," 15 Jan. 2020 Lytle had 11 years of experience organizing high school basketball tournaments in his previous tenure at Salt River High School before going to Chandler Prep in 2015. Dana Scott, azcentral, "Why Chandler Prep New Years Classic girls basketball tourney matters to 1A-3A schools," 6 Jan. 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

3 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Tenure.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tenurial?pronunciation&lang=en_us&dir=t&file=tenure03. Accessed 16 Feb. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for tenure


How to pronounce tenure (audio)

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 tenurial (audio) \ adjective
tenurially \ -​ə-​lē How to pronounce tenurially (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).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

More Confusing Words—Quiz

  • cats on impossible timber
  • The magician ______ moved the selected card to the top of the deck.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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