Synonyms & Antonyms of tenuous

lacking strength, permanence, or resilience
  • The countries formed a tenuous political alliance.
  • The moon has a tenuous atmosphere that frequently fluctuates in thickness.

Synonyms for tenuous

Synonyms & Near Synonyms for tenuous

Antonyms & Near Antonyms for tenuous

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Frequently Asked Questions About tenuous

How does the adjective tenuous contrast with its synonyms?

Some common synonyms of tenuous are slender, slight, slim, and thin. While all these words mean "not thick, broad, abundant, or dense," tenuous implies extreme thinness, sheerness, or lack of substance and firmness.

a tenuous thread

Where would slender be a reasonable alternative to tenuous?

The meanings of slender and tenuous largely overlap; however, slender implies leanness or spareness often with grace and good proportion.

the slender legs of a Sheraton chair

When could slight be used to replace tenuous?

While in some cases nearly identical to tenuous, slight implies smallness as well as thinness.

a slight build

When is slim a more appropriate choice than tenuous?

The synonyms slim and tenuous are sometimes interchangeable, but slim applies to slenderness that suggests fragility or scantiness.

a slim volume of poetry

a slim chance

In what contexts can thin take the place of tenuous?

The words thin and tenuous are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, thin implies comparatively little extension between surfaces or in diameter, or it may imply lack of substance, richness, or abundance.

thin wire

a thin soup

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Time Traveler for tenuous

Time Traveler

The first known use of tenuous was in 1597

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Cite this Entry

“Tenuous.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Aug. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on tenuous

Nglish: Translation of tenuous for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of tenuous for Arabic Speakers


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