Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Date: 1600-1700
Language: Latin
Origin: 'stretched', from the past participle of tendere; TEND

tense

1 adjective
     
tense1
1 a tense situation is one in which you feel very anxious and worried because of something bad that might happen [↪ tension]
tense situation/atmosphere/moment etc
Marion spoke, eager to break the tense silence.
2 feeling worried, uncomfortable, and unable to relax:
Is anything wrong? You look a little tense.
3 unable to relax your body or part of your body because your muscles feel tight [↪ tension]:
Massage is great if your neck and back are tense.
She tried to relax her tense muscles.
tensely adverb
tenseness noun [uncountable]

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