Share this entry

Share this page


Pronunciation: /təniʀ/

Translation of tenir in English:


  • 2 to keep [sb] under control il nous tient he's got a hold on us
  • 8tenir sa tête droite to hold one's head upright tenir les yeux baissés to keep one's eyes lowered
  • 11tenir la mer [ship] to be seaworthy tenir le coup to hold out tenir le choc [person] to stand the strain
  • 13tenir qn/qch pour responsable to hold sb/sth responsible tenir qn pour mort to give sb up for dead

v+prep (tenir à)

  • 1tenir à to be fond of, to like tenir à la vie to value one's life
  • 2j'y tiens I insist tenir à ce que qn fasse to insist that sb should do

v+prep (tenir de)

  • tenir de qn to take after sb


  • 3la neige tient the snow is settling les fleurs n'ont pas tenu the flowers didn't last long

v refl (+ v être) (se tenir)

  • 1se tenir la tête à deux mains to hold one's head in one's hands
  • 2se tenir par le bras to be arm in arm se tenir par la main to hold hands
  • 3se tenir à qch to hold onto sth tiens-toi or tenez-vous bien [fig], [fam], prepare yourself for a shock
  • 4se tenir accroupi to be squatting se tenir au milieu to be standing in the middle se tenir prêt to be ready
  • 6se tenir bien/mal to have (a) good posture/(a) bad posture tiens-toi droit! stand up straight!
  • 7 [demonstration, exhibition] to be held
  • 9tenez-vous le pour dit! [fam] I don't want to have to tell you again!
  • 10s'en tenir à to keep to s'en tenir aux ordres to stick to orders ne pas savoir à quoi s'en tenir not to know what to make of it

v impers

  • il ne tient qu'à toi de partir it's up to you to decide whether to leave qu'à cela ne tienne! never mind!

Share this entry

Share this page


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day libretto
Pronunciation: lɪˈbrɛtəʊ
the text of an opera…