Word family noun tenseness tension adjective tense verb tense adverb tensely From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishtensetense1 /tens/ ●●○ AWL adjective 1 NERVOUSWORRIEDa tense situation is one in which you feel very anxious and worried because of something bad that might happen → tensiontense situation/atmosphere/moment etc Marion spoke, eager to break the tense silence.► see thesaurus at nervous2 feeling worried, uncomfortable, and unable to relax OPP relaxed Is anything wrong? You look a little tense.3 RELAXEDunable to relax your body or part of your body because your muscles feel tight → tension Massage is great if your neck and back are tense. She tried to relax her tense muscles. —tensely adverb —tenseness noun [uncountable]
Examples from the Corpustense• When someone mentioned Andy's time in prison, the atmosphere grew tense.• At night I fall into bed weary instead of tense.• Faced with this living miscegenation, I had spells of getting all minimalist, which rendered things a bit tense.• Her tone was anxious now, her face tense.• The atmosphere in the waiting room was extremely tense.• I always feel tense after driving all day.• I tried parries, but they were tight, tense, and ineffective.• Mary's problems at work were making her tense and irritable.• So Allen lay tense and still, watching.• His shoulders felt tense and the top of the range hissed as a tear escaped from his eyes.• The negotiations became increasingly tense as the weeks went by.• Williams looked a little tense before the game.• In the program, the hostages re-live the tense days they spent under guard in East Africa.• I can feel you're really tense in your lower back.• When you are tense it is hard to relax but that is just what you need to do.• The journey through the mountains went well even though there were a few tense moments when the car skidded.• tense muscles• There was a tense silence, and then everyone began to laugh.• In the tense silence that followed, the boys fidgeted uneasily.• You seem awfully tense - why don't you have a drink and try to relax?• They stared silently at the impenetrable curtain surrounding the ship, and each face was tense with anxiety.tense situation/atmosphere/moment etc• Bored or tense atmosphere. 2.• It is a single-elimination tournament, which should provide many tense moments.• They looked horrible and gave their fans some unnecessarily tense moments.• You can see it in their eyes -- years of tense situations and busting cocaine mules.• It was a tense moment for everyone because he couldn't control where he landed or his speed.• This is not to say that there have not been tense moments in the sub.• I felt a tense atmosphere of anxiousness build between us.• I can vividly remember the tense atmosphere prevailing amongst all Washington crews during December 1952 and January 1953.tensetense2 ●●○ noun [countable, uncountable] SLGany of the forms of a verb that show the time, continuance, or completion of an action or state that is expressed by the verb. ‘I am’ is in the present tense, ‘I was’ is past tense, and ‘I will be’ is future tense.
Examples from the Corpustense• Again, the rewriting task will require changing tenses.• The former wrote of the apostles in the past tense.• Switching from the future to the present tense has other advantages.• In Amalgamemnon Brooke-Rose gets round this problem by using non-realized tenses and moods.• Another section is devoted entirely to grammar drills, including the use of prepositions, comparatives, negatives and verb tenses.tensetense3 (also tense up) verb [intransitive, transitive] TIGHTto make your muscles tight and stiff, or to become tight and stiff Relax, and try not to tense up so much. Every time the phone rang, she tensed.→ See Verb table
Examples from the Corpustense• He frowns, he tenses - he peers into a sloping hollow.• She tensed involuntarily, looking into his eyes with growing panic.• I tensed on the controls, involuntarily leaning forward, ready to take off.• Neal tensed slightly as the plane took off.• He put his arm around me, and I tensed up.• Stephen, lying in a shellhole with Byrne, felt his body tense with hatred at the sound of them.• But I was not scared and my legs did not tense with the need for flight.• She tensed with the need to resist the powerful feelings he was evoking.Origin tense1 (1600-1700) Latin “stretched”, from the past participle of tendere; → TEND tense3 (1300-1400) Old French tens “time, tense”, from Latin tempus “time”