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tense Meaning, Definition & Usage

  1. noun a grammatical category of verbs used to express distinctions of time
  2. verb become stretched or tense or taut
    • the bodybuilder's neck muscles tensed
    • "the rope strained when the weight was attached
  3. verb increase the tension on
    • alternately relax and tense your calf muscle
    • tense the rope manually before tensing the spring
  4. verb become tense, nervous, or uneasy
    tense up.
    • He tensed up when he saw his opponent enter the room
  5. verb cause to be tense and uneasy or nervous or anxious
    strain; tense up.
    • he got a phone call from his lawyer that tensed him up
  6. adjective in or of a state of physical or nervous tension
  7. adjective pronounced with relatively tense tongue muscles (e.g., the vowel sound in `beat')
  8. adjective taut or rigid; stretched tight
    • tense piano strings

Tense noun
OF. tens, properly, time, F. temps time, tense. See Temporal of time, and cf. Thing.
  1. (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 signified; the modification which verbs undergo for the indication of time. ✍ The primary simple tenses are three: those which express time past, present, and future; but these admit of modifications, which differ in different languages.
Tense adjective
L. tensus, p.p. of tendere to stretch. See Tend to move, and cf. Toise.
  1. Stretched tightly; strained to stiffness; rigid; not lax; as, a tense fiber.
    The temples were sunk, her forehead was tense, and a fatal paleness was upon her. Goldsmith.
    -- Tense"ly, adv. -- Tense"ness, n.

Webster 1913

"Rowling never met an adverb she didn't like."

-Stephen King on J.K Rowling's excessive use of adverbs.

Fear not the Adverb Hell!

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