adverb or adjective

te·​nu·​to tā-ˈnü-(ˌ)tō How to pronounce tenuto (audio)
: in a manner so as to hold a tone or chord firmly to its full value
used as a direction in music

Word History


borrowed from Italian, from past participle of tenere "to hold," going back to Latin tenēre "to hold, possess" — more at tenant entry 1

First Known Use

1762, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of tenuto was in 1762

Dictionary Entries Near tenuto

Cite this Entry

“Tenuto.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tenuto. Accessed 1 Jun. 2023.

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