I. noun Etymology: Middle English tens time, tense, from Anglo-French, from Latin tempus Date: 14th century 1. a distinction of form in a verb to express distinctions of time or duration of the action or state it denotes 2. a. a set of inflectional forms of a verb that express distinctions of time b. an inflectional form of a verb expressing a specific time distinction II. adjective (tenser; tensest) Etymology: Latin tensus, from past participle of tendere to stretch — more at thin Date: 1668 1. stretched tight ; made taut ; rigid <
tense muscles
2. a. feeling or showing nervous tension <
a tense smile
b. marked by strain or suspense <
a tense thriller
3. produced with the muscles involved in a relatively tense state <
the vowels \ē\ and \ü\ in contrast with the vowels \i\ and \u̇\ are tense
tensely adverbtenseness noun III. verb (tensed; tensing) Date: 1676 transitive verb to make tense intransitive verb to become tense <
tensed up and missed the putt

New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • Tense — Tense, a. [L. tensus, p. p. of tendere to stretch. See {Tend} to move, and cf. {Toise}.] Stretched tightly; strained to stiffness; rigid; not lax; as, a tense fiber. [1913 Webster] The temples were sunk, her forehead was tense, and a fatal… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • tense — is the location in time of the state or action expressed by a verb. English verbs properly have only two tenses, the present (I stay) and past (I stayed). The future is formed with shall or will (I shall / will stay: see shall and will) or (to… …   Modern English usage

  • Tense — Tense, n. [OF. tens, properly, time, F. temps time, tense. See {Temporal} of time, and cf. {Thing}.] (Gram.) One of the forms which a verb takes by inflection or by adding auxiliary words, so as to indicate the time of the action or event… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Tense — may refer to: *Grammatical tense, the inflection of a verb to indicate whether past, present, or future time is intended *Tenseness, a phonological quality frequently associated with vowels and occasionally with consonants *Tense, a state of… …   Wikipedia

  • tense — Ⅰ. tense [1] ► ADJECTIVE 1) stretched tight or rigid. 2) feeling, causing, or showing anxiety and nervousness. ► VERB ▪ make or become tense. DERIVATIVES tensely adverb tenseness noun …   English terms dictionary

  • tense — tense1 [tens] adj. tenser, tensest [L tensus, pp. of tendere, to stretch < IE * tend < base * ten , to stretch > THIN] 1. stretched tight; strained; taut 2. feeling, showing, or causing mental strain; anxious 3. Phonet. articulated with… …   English World dictionary

  • tense — [adj1] tight, stretched close, firm, rigid, stiff, strained, taut; concepts 485,604 Ant. limp, limpid, loose, relaxed, slack tense [adj2] under stress, pressure agitated, anxious, apprehensive, beside oneself*, bundle of nerves*, choked, clutched …   New thesaurus

  • tense — index rigid Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • tense — adj 1 *tight, taut Analogous words: strained (see corresponding noun at STRAIN): nervous, unquiet, uneasy, jittery (see IMPATIENT) Antonyms: slack 2 *stiff, rigid, inflexible, stark, wooden Analogous words: tough, tenacious, stout (see STRONG):… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • tense — I UK [tens] / US adjective Word forms tense : adjective tense comparative tenser superlative tensest * 1) a) making you feel nervous and not relaxed, usually because you are worried about what is going to happen a tense situation/atmosphere a… …   English dictionary

  • tense — tense1 [ tens ] adjective * 1. ) making you feel nervous and not relaxed, usually because you are worried about what is going to happen: a tense meeting/situation a tense silence: There was a tense silence as everyone waited for his reaction. a… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”