Definition of tenure in English:


Syllabification: ten·ure
Pronunciation: /ˈtenyər, -yo͝or


  • 1The conditions under which land or buildings are held or occupied.
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    • 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
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    • 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.
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    • 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.
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    • 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.


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  • 1Give (someone) a permanent post, especially as a teacher or professor: I had recently been tenured and then promoted to full professor
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    • 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
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    • 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.

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