|Origin:||'stretched', from the past participle of tendere; TEND|
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.
feeling worried, uncomfortable, and unable to relax:
Is anything wrong? You look a little tense.
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.
—tenseness noun [uncountable]