1 a : not easily pulled apart : cohesive
b : tending to adhere or cling especially to another substance
2 : persistent in maintaining, adhering to, or seeking something valued or desired
3 : retentive
Did You Know?
For the more than 400 years that tenacious has been a part of the English language, it has adhered closely to its Latin antecedent: tenax, an adjective meaning "tending to hold fast." Almost from the first, tenacious could suggest either literal adhesion or figurative stick-to-itiveness. Sandburs are tenacious, and so are athletes who don't let defeat get them down. We use tenacious of a good memory, too—one that has a better than average capacity to hold information. But you can also have too much of a good thing. The addition in Latin of the prefix per- ("thoroughly") to tenax led to the English word pertinacious, meaning "perversely persistent." You might use pertinacious for the likes of rumors and telemarketers, for example.
Once Linda has decided on a course of action, she can be very tenacious when it comes to seeing it through.
"The demands on the men were extreme—no sleep, long distances to trek, limited supplies and a tenacious enemy are enough to test the cohesion of even the most disciplined teams." — Capt. Garrison Haning, Army Magazine, 1 Apr. 2019
Test Your Vocabulary with M-W Quizzes
Name That Synonym
Fill in the blanks to complete a synonym of tenacious that describes someone who desires material possessions excessively: g _ _ s _ _ n _.VIEW THE ANSWER
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