- Tension is physical or mental strain, the force created by pulling something tight or a strain in a relationship.
- An example of tension is the feeling of working to meet an established deadline.
- An example of tension is pulling the two ends of a rubber band further and further apart from each other.
- An example of tension is an awkward feeling between two friends after a big fight.
- a tensing or being tensed
- mental or nervous strain, often accompanied by muscular tautness
- a state of strained relations; uneasiness due to mutual hostility
- a device for regulating tension or tautness, as of thread in a sewing machine
- loosely the expansive force, or pressure, of a gas or vapor
- stress on a material produced by the pull of forces tending to cause extension
- a force or combination of forces exerting such a pull against the resistance of the material
- a balancing of forces or elements in opposition
Origin of tension; from Middle French or L: Middle French ; from Classical Latin tensio ; from tensus: see tense
- a. The act or process of stretching something tight.b. The condition of so being stretched; tautness.
- a. A force tending to stretch or elongate something.b. A measure of such a force: a tension on the cable of 50 pounds.
- a. Mental, emotional, or nervous strain: working under great tension to make a deadline.b. Barely controlled hostility or a strained relationship between people or groups: the dangerous tension between opposing military powers.
- A balanced relation between strongly opposing elements: “the continuing, and essential, tension between two of the three branches of government, judicial and legislative” (Haynes Johnson).
- The interplay of conflicting elements in a piece of literature, especially a poem.
- A device for regulating tautness, especially a device that controls the tautness of thread on a sewing machine or loom.
- Electricity Voltage or potential; electromotive force.
transitive verbten·sioned, ten·sion·ing, ten·sions
Origin of tensionLatin tēnsiō, tēnsiōn-, a stretching out, from tēnsus, past participle of tendere, to stretch; see tense1.
- Condition of being held in a state between two or more forces, which are acting in opposition to each other
- Psychological state of being tense.
- (physics, engineering) State of an elastic object which is stretched in a way which increases its length.
- (physics, engineering) Force transmitted through a rope, string, cable, or similar object (used with prepositions on, in, or of, e.g., "The tension in the cable is 1000 N", to convey that the same magnitude of force applies to objects attached to both ends).
- (physics) Voltage. Usually only the terms low tension, high tension, and extra-high tension, and the abbreviations LT, HT, and EHT are used. They are not precisely defined; LT is normally a few volts, HT a few hundreds of volts, and EHT thousands of volts.
(third-person singular simple present tensions, present participle tensioning, simple past and past participle tensioned)
From Middle French tension.