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1the state of being stretched tight:the parachute keeps the cable under tension as it drops the state of having the muscles stretched tight, especially as causing strain or discomfort:the elimination of neck tension can relieve headaches a strained state or condition resulting from forces acting in opposition to each other. the degree of tightness of stitches in knitting and machine sewing. 2mental or emotional strain:a mind that is affected by stress or tension cannot think as clearly a strained political or social state or relationship:the coup followed months of tension between the military and the government racial tensions a relationship between ideas or qualities with conflicting demands or implications:the basic tension between freedom and control
verb [with object]
apply a force to (something) that tends to stretch it.