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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
    strain.
    • 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
WordNet

Tense noun
Etymology
OF. tens, properly, time, F. temps time, tense. See Temporal of time, and cf. Thing.
Definitions
  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
Etymology
L. tensus, p.p. of tendere to stretch. See Tend to move, and cf. Toise.
Definitions
  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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