sinew

[sin-yoo]
noun
1.
a tendon.
2.
Often, sinews. the source of strength, power, or vigor: the sinews of the nation.
3.
strength; power; resilience: a man of great moral sinew.
verb (used with object)
4.
to furnish with sinews; strengthen, as by sinews.

Origin:
before 900; Middle English; Old English sinu (nominative), sinuwe (genitive); cognate with Dutch zenuw, German Sehne, Old Norse sin; akin to Sanskrit snāva sinew

sinewless, adjective
unsinewed, adjective
unsinewing, adjective
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
sinew (ˈsɪnjuː)
 
n
1.  anatomy another name for tendon
2.  (often plural)
 a.  a source of strength or power
 b.  a literary word for muscle
 
[Old English sionu; related to Old Norse sin, Old Saxon sinewa, Old High German senawa sinew, Lettish pasainis string]
 
'sinewless
 
adj

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

sinew
O.E. seonowe, oblique form of nom. sionu "sinew," from P.Gmc. *senawo (cf. O.S. sinewa, O.N. sina, O.Fris. sine, M.Du. senuwe, O.H.G. senawa, Ger. Sehne), from PIE base *sai- "to bend" (cf. Skt. snavah "sinew," Avestan snavar, Ir. sin "chain").
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

sinew sin·ew (sĭn'yōō)
n.

  1. A tendon.

  2. Vigorous strength; muscular power.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Example sentences
Writers have more important work: authenticity, exposure of the sinews of the
  world and human relationships.
The ancients had to make do with twisted ropes and sinews.
And since muscle contraction velocity increases as sinews warm up, you can get
  into a groove right from the start of your workout.
The focus was on the creative figure who hammered every dance out of the sinews
  of his or her own body.
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