- The definition of tense is a state where your muscles are tight, or where you are filled with nervousness and anxiety.
An example of tense is the way to describe a student just before he takes a big and important test.
- Tense is a grammar term used to indicate whether a sentence (or verb) is an action in the past, the present or the future.
An example of tense is a verb that indicates action is going on now, or a sentence about action taking place now.
- To tense is to become stressed or to have your muscles become tight and rigid.
An example of tense is when you get very nervous and scared when you hear a loud noise.
- stretched tight; strained; taut
- feeling, showing, or causing mental strain; anxious
- Phonet. articulated with the jaw and tongue muscles relatively rigid: said of certain vowels, as (ē) and (o̵̅o̅)
Origin: L tensus, past participle of tendere, to stretch from Indo-European an unverified form tend- from base an unverified form ten-, to stretch from source thin
- a characteristic of verbs that indicates the time of the action or state of being that a verb expresses; also, an analytic category based on this characteristic
- any of the forms a verb takes to indicate this characteristic
- a set of such forms for a given time reference: the present tense of “be”
Origin: Middle English from Old French tens from Classical Latin tempus, time: see temper
Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
adjective tens·er, tens·est
- Tightly stretched; taut. See Synonyms at stiff, tight.
- In a state of mental or nervous tension.
- Characterized by nervous tension or suspense.
- Linguistics Enunciated with taut muscles, as the sound (ē) in keen.
Origin: Latin tēnsus, past participle of tendere, to stretch; see ten- in Indo-European roots.
- tenseˈly adverb
- tenseˈness noun
- Any one of the inflected forms in the conjugation of a verb that indicates the time, such as past, present, or future, as well as the continuance or completion of the action or state.
- A set of tense forms indicating a particular time: the future tense.
Origin: Middle English tens, from Old French, time, from Latin tempus.
tense - Cultural Definition
An inflectional (see inflection) form of verbs; it expresses the time at which the action described by the verb takes place. The major tenses are past, present, and future. The verb in “I sing” is in the present tense; in “I sang,” past tense; in “I will sing,” future tense. Other tenses are the present perfect (“I have sung”), the past perfect (“I had sung”), and the future perfect (“I will have sung”).