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-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 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… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of 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

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  • 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

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