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
He smears bitumen from an old car battery onto the end of the shaft, heats it
  again, and binds twine made of kudu sinew around it.
It's a complicated, messy piece of anatomy, with sinew and hide hanging off one
  end.
Every movement was sure and purposeful as they approached in a rippling of
  sinew and muscle.
There was a fresh leg with sinew and bones but no flesh.
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