There are 2 definitions of tense in English:

tense1

Syllabification: tense
Pronunciation: /tens
 
/

adjective

1(Especially of a muscle or someone’s body) stretched tight or rigid: she tried to relax her tense muscles
More example sentences
  • She sighed and stretched her tense muscles.
  • All of his tense muscles were growing stiff and sore.
  • She ran her hands along Elisa's shoulders, smoothing her tense muscles.
Synonyms
taut, tight, rigid, stretched, strained, stiff
1.1(Of a person) unable to relax because of nervousness, anxiety, or stimulation: he was tense with excitement
More example sentences
  • Whereas she's relatively calm and relaxed, he's tense and anxious.
  • The slow, fluid movements help tense, stressed people relax.
  • I relaxed myself after being tense for a few minutes.
1.2(Of a situation, event, etc.) causing or showing anxiety and nervousness: relations between the two neighboring states had been tense in recent years
More example sentences
  • He was suddenly uneasy in the tense silence.
  • Nobody said anything for a while, creating an uneasy and tense silence.
  • A tense, uneasy silence fell over the room again.
Synonyms
anxious, nervous, on edge, edgy, antsy, strained, stressed, under pressure, agitated, ill at ease, fretful, uneasy, restless, strung out, worked up, wound up, keyed up, overwrought, jumpy, on tenterhooks, with one's stomach in knots, worried, apprehensive, panicky, neurotic
informal uptight, het up, stressed out, jittery, twitchy, squirrelly, in a state, a bundle of nerves
nerve-racking, stressful, anxious, worrying, fraught, charged, strained, nail-biting, suspenseful, uneasy, difficult, uncomfortable; exciting, cliffhanging, knife-edge
informal hairy, white-knuckle
1.3 Phonetics (Of a speech sound, especially a vowel) pronounced with the vocal muscles stretched tight. The opposite of lax.
More example sentences
  • Tense vowels tend to be peripheral and lax vowels closer to schwa, the neutral or central vowel.

verb

[no object] Back to top  
1Become tense, typically through anxiety or nervousness: her body tensed up
More example sentences
  • I tensed up and squeezed her hand harder.
  • If you get too tensed up and let it get to you, that's counter-productive.
  • He used to get quite tensed up and panicky about things, but that is all in the past now.
1.1 [with object] Make (a muscle or one’s body) tight or rigid: carefully stretch and then tense your muscles
More example sentences
  • When we are stressed our body responds by tensing the muscles.
  • Every muscle in her body was tensed for the coming action.
  • Tense each body part for a moment and then relax it.
Synonyms
tighten, tauten, tense up, flex, contract, brace, stiffen; screw up, knot, strain, stretch, squinch up

Origin

late 17th century: from Latin tensus 'stretched', from the verb tendere.

Derivatives

tensely

adverb
More example sentences
  • Everyone watched tensely as he edged along the narrow ledge.
  • They wait tensely to see whether the outbreak will spread further.
  • The accused are led into the room and wait tensely for sentencing.

tenseness

noun
More example sentences
  • High doses of caffeine are associated with anxiety and tenseness.
  • I feel a small but significant tenseness in my shoulders.
  • The tenseness that had suddenly appeared on his daughter's face worried him.

tensity

Pronunciation: /ˈtensitē/
noun
( dated )
More example sentences
  • I could tell that he had noticed my tensity.
  • His muscles seemed to loose their tensity and he crashed downward in a heap.
  • Note the tensity of expression with which the group is following his each and every word

Definition of tense in:

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Word of the day animalcule
Pronunciation: ˌanəˈmalˌkyo͞ol
noun
a microscopic animal

There are 2 definitions of tense in English:

tense2

Syllabification: tense
Pronunciation: /tens
 
/

noun

Grammar
A set of forms taken by a verb to indicate the time (and sometimes also the continuance or completeness) of the action in relation to the time of the utterance: the past tense
More example sentences
  • At the moment I am trying to master 5 different tenses of verbs and also adverbs, pronouns and other vocabulary.
  • As the network learned, it began to generate ‘digged’ for ‘dug,’ regular past tenses of irregular verbs.
  • When my brain was filled with verb tenses, right triangles and pulmonary veins, there was no room for personal thoughts.

Origin

Middle English (in the general sense 'time'): from Old French tens, from Latin tempus 'time'.

Derivatives

tenseless

adjective
More example sentences
  • For example, Roderick Chisholm and A. N. Prior claim that the ‘is’ in the sentence ‘It's now midnight ‘is essentially present tensed because there is no translation using only tenseless verbs.’
  • If we want to construct a sentence which genuinely contains only B-series temporal expressions, then we must construct one whose verbs are tenseless.
  • Such a realist account is provided by static and tenseless theories of time. A static theory holds that the participation of time into the past, the present and the future depends on the perspective we human beings put on the world.

Definition of tense in: