To be on tenterhooks
Tenter Ten"ter, n. [OE. tenture, tentoure, OF. tenture a stretching, spreading, F. tenture hangings, tapestry, from L. tendere, tentum, to stretch. See {Tend} to move.] A machine or frame for stretching cloth by means of hooks, called tenter-hooks, so that it may dry even and square. [1913 Webster]

{Tenter ground}, a place where tenters are erected.

{Tenter-hook}, a sharp, hooked nail used for fastening cloth on a tenter.

{To be on the tenters}, {To be on the tenter-hooks} or {To be on tenterhooks}, to be on the stretch; to be in distress, uneasiness, or suspense. --Hudibras. [1913 Webster +PJC]


The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • To be on the tenter-hooks — Tenter Ten ter, n. [OE. tenture, tentoure, OF. tenture a stretching, spreading, F. tenture hangings, tapestry, from L. tendere, tentum, to stretch. See {Tend} to move.] A machine or frame for stretching cloth by means of hooks, called tenter… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • To be on the tenters — Tenter Ten ter, n. [OE. tenture, tentoure, OF. tenture a stretching, spreading, F. tenture hangings, tapestry, from L. tendere, tentum, to stretch. See {Tend} to move.] A machine or frame for stretching cloth by means of hooks, called tenter… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • (be) on tenterhooks — (be) on ˈtenterhooks idiom (NAmE also be on ˌpins and ˈneedles) (to be) very anxious or excited while you are waiting to find out sth or see what will happen • I ve been on tenterhooks all week waiting for the results. From …   Useful english dictionary

  • tenterhooks — (n.) late 15c., one of the hooks that holds cloth on a tenter, from TENTER (Cf. tenter) + HOOK (Cf. hook) (n.). The figurative phrase on tenterhooks in painful suspense is from 1748; earlier to be on tenters (1530s) …   Etymology dictionary

  • tenterhooks — ten|ter|hooks [ˈtentəhuks US ər ] n especially BrE [Date: 1500 1600; Origin: tenterhook sharp nail for fastening cloth on a tenter (15 20 centuries), from tenter frame for drying and stretching cloth (13 20 centuries) (from Medieval Latin tentura …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • tenterhooks — noun be on tenterhooks to feel nervous and excited because you are waiting for something: She had been on tenterhooks all night, expecting Joe to return at any moment …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

  • Tenter — Ten ter, n. [OE. tenture, tentoure, OF. tenture a stretching, spreading, F. tenture hangings, tapestry, from L. tendere, tentum, to stretch. See {Tend} to move.] A machine or frame for stretching cloth by means of hooks, called tenter hooks, so… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Tenter ground — Tenter Ten ter, n. [OE. tenture, tentoure, OF. tenture a stretching, spreading, F. tenture hangings, tapestry, from L. tendere, tentum, to stretch. See {Tend} to move.] A machine or frame for stretching cloth by means of hooks, called tenter… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Tenter-hook — Tenter Ten ter, n. [OE. tenture, tentoure, OF. tenture a stretching, spreading, F. tenture hangings, tapestry, from L. tendere, tentum, to stretch. See {Tend} to move.] A machine or frame for stretching cloth by means of hooks, called tenter… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Worshipful Company of Clothworkers — The Livery Hall of the Clothworkers Company in 1859. The Worshipful Company of Clothworkers was incorporated by Royal Charter in 1528, formed by the amalgamation of its two predecessor Companies, the Fullers (incorporated 1480) and the Shearmen… …   Wikipedia

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