Word of the Day : November 3, 2018


noun SIN-yoo


1 : tendon; especially : one dressed for use as a cord or thread

2 a : solid resilient strength : power

b : the chief supporting force : mainstay — usually used in plural

Did You Know?

Many parts of the body have come to have figurative meanings in English. One can have an eye for interior design, for example, or lack the stomach for horror movies. Muscle, of course, can mean "strength," and so can sinew, a word for the tissue that ties muscle to bone—more commonly known as a tendon. For a while, sinew and nerve were used in a synonymous manner for both tendons and nerves, but the use of sinew in the sense of "nerve" is now obsolete, and nerve in the sense of "sinew" or "tendon" is now primarily found only in certain phrases such as "strain every nerve" (which implies making every possible effort). The use of sinew to mean "the chief supporting force" ties into its anatomical function as a stabilizing unit. Sinew derives via Middle English from Old English seono; it is also related to Old High German senawa ("sinew") and Sanskrit syati ("he binds").


"This roast from the shoulder was beefy and juicy…. A thin line of sinew was the only unpleasant distraction." — Cook's Country, June 1995

"Among the materials [American explorer John Wesley Powell] left in Bloomington … were beaded moccasins, baskets woven from grass and willow, a bow studded with metal tacks and strung with intact string made from sinew and an arrow quiver." — Brian Maffly, The Salt Lake Tribune, 14 Sept. 2018

Test Your Vocabulary

Unscramble the letters to create a word for a thread of sinew, gut, or rawhide: EABHBCI.



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