Definition of tenure in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈtenyər/


1The conditions under which land or buildings are held or occupied.
Example sentences
  • But without exception, these big operations use leased land, with tenures typically of two to five years.
  • The stability of the system is indicated by the fact that long-term leases for a life or for several lives were common, and that these long-term grants tended to turn into hereditary tenures.
  • Much of the country was still held in multiple tenures - infield and outfield, with the remainder still held as ‘commonties’ by the local community.
2The holding of an office: his tenure of the premiership would be threatened
More example sentences
  • During his tenure, the university experienced its most expansive period of growth.
  • During his tenure at Oxford University, he belonged to a group called the inklings, which also included the author C.S. Lewis.
  • During the president's tenure in office, he's built an impressive record.
2.1A period for which an office is held.
Example sentences
  • To make matters worse, most cabinet officials have rather short tenures in office.
  • These single teachers taught an average of 12 years, raising the average tenure of teachers.
  • Humphries, at the request of the board, has already extended his tenure at the university at least twice this year.
3Guaranteed permanent employment, especially as a teacher or professor, after a probationary period.
Example sentences
  • College/university music teachers have tenure, rank and their employer's standards that provide professional status for them.
  • University teachers have lost tenure and the quality of their teaching and research is regularly assessed by independent bodies.
  • Newly divorced and up for tenure at Washington State University, she was faced with trying to eke out a living for herself and her two daughters on an assistant professor's salary.


[with object]
1Give (someone) a permanent post, especially as a teacher or professor: I had recently been tenured and then promoted to full professor
More example sentences
  • And we question the justness of tenuring him, certainly of the size of his salary and administrative reach.
  • If her take on hiring practices is right, Emory isn't going to be tenuring anyone in this area of interest anytime soon.
  • Buchanan was driven out in part by not tenuring his junior colleagues.
1.1 (as adjective tenured) Having or denoting a permanent post, especially as a teacher or professor: a tenured faculty member
More example sentences
  • Well, I am a biblical scholar - complete with tenured academic post - and I think your analysis is convincing.
  • Tenured faculty were facing retirement without the assurance that new generations of tenured academic citizens would take their places.
  • Publication success is often a key factor in deciding whether an academic wins research grants or is offered a tenured post at a university.


Late Middle English: from Old French, from tenir 'to hold', from Latin tenere.

Words that rhyme with tenure

Kenya, Mantegna, Sardegna
Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

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