Tense Definition

tĕns
tensed, tenser, tenses, tensest, tensing
adjective
tenser, tensest
Stretched tight; strained; taut.
Webster's New World
In a state of nervous tension or mental strain.
Was very tense before the exam.
American Heritage
Feeling, showing, or causing mental strain; anxious.
Webster's New World
Articulated with the jaw and tongue muscles relatively rigid.
Webster's New World
verb
tensed, tenses, tensing
To make or become tense.
American Heritage
To make or become tense.
Webster's New World
Antonyms:
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noun
tenses
A property of verbs in which the time of the action or state, as well as its continuance or completion, is indicated or expressed.
American Heritage
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.
Webster's New World
Any of the forms a verb takes to indicate this characteristic.
Webster's New World
A set of such forms for a given time reference.
The present tense of “be”
Webster's New World
Synonyms:

Other Word Forms of Tense

Noun

Singular:
tense
Plural:
tenses

Adjective

Base Form:
tense
Comparative:
tenser
Superlative:
tensest

Origin of Tense

  • Latin tēnsus past participle of tendere to stretch ten- in Indo-European roots

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

  • Middle English tens from Old French time from Latin tempus

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

  • From Old French tens (modern French temps), from Latin tempus.

    From Wiktionary

  • From Latin tensus, past participle of tendere (“stretch").

    From Wiktionary

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