Old Tenor
Tenor Ten"or, n. [L., from tenere to hold; hence, properly, a holding on in a continued course: cf. F. teneur. See {Tenable}, and cf. {Tenor} a kind of voice.] 1. A state of holding on in a continuous course; manner of continuity; constant mode; general tendency; course; career. [1913 Webster]

Along the cool sequestered vale of life They kept the noiseless tenor of their away. --Gray. [1913 Webster]

2. That course of thought which holds on through a discourse; the general drift or course of thought; purport; intent; meaning; understanding. [1913 Webster]

When it [the bond] is paid according to the tenor. --Shak. [1913 Webster]

Does not the whole tenor of the divine law positively require humility and meekness to all men? --Spart. [1913 Webster]

3. Stamp; character; nature. [1913 Webster]

This success would look like chance, if it were perpetual, and always of the same tenor. --Dryden. [1913 Webster]

4. (Law) An exact copy of a writing, set forth in the words and figures of it. It differs from purport, which is only the substance or general import of the instrument. --Bouvier. [1913 Webster]

5. [F. t['e]nor, L. tenor, properly, a holding; -- so called because the tenor was the voice which took and held the principal part, the plain song, air, or tune, to which the other voices supplied a harmony above and below: cf. It. tenore.] (Mus.) (a) The higher of the two kinds of voices usually belonging to adult males; hence, the part in the harmony adapted to this voice; the second of the four parts in the scale of sounds, reckoning from the base, and originally the air, to which the other parts were auxillary. (b) A person who sings the tenor, or the instrument that play it. [1913 Webster]

{Old Tenor}, {New Tenor}, {Middle Tenor}, different descriptions of paper money, issued at different periods, by the American colonial governments in the last century. [1913 Webster]


The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

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