Definition of tenterhook in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈtɛntəhʊk/


A hook used to fasten cloth on a drying frame or tenter (see tenter1).
Example sentences
  • Their first guess was they were tenterhooks, sometimes known as tenter posts - devices used to stretch cloth while it was being dyed.


on tenterhooks

In a state of suspense or agitation because of uncertainty about a future event: he was on tenterhooks waiting for the director’s decision
More example sentences
  • Hospital bosses in south Essex were today on tenterhooks as the future of controversial foundation trusts went back into the melting pot.
  • Anyhoo, I feel like the grandparents were just waiting on tenterhooks to find out the sex so they can finally go out and shop for the baby.
  • Everyone is just waiting on tenterhooks for the ward phone to ring.
in suspense, waiting with bated breath;
anxious, nervous, nervy, apprehensive, worried, worried sick, on edge, edgy, tense, strained, stressed, agitated, in a state of nerves, in a state of agitation, fretful, restless, worked up, keyed up, overwrought, wrought up, strung out, jumpy, with one's stomach in knots, with one's heart in one's mouth, like a cat on a hot tin roof, fidgety, on pins and needles
informal with butterflies in one's stomach, jittery, twitchy, in a state, uptight, wired, in a stew, in a dither, all of a dither, in a sweat, in a flap, in a tizz/tizzy, all of a lather, het up, in a twitter, waiting for the axe to fall
North American informal spooky, squirrelly, in a twit
Australian/New Zealand informal toey
British vulgar slang shitting bricks, bricking oneself
dated overstrung

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: ten¦ter|hook

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