9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[ten-it; British also tee-nit] /ˈtɛn ɪt; British also ˈti nɪt/
any opinion, principle, doctrine, dogma, etc., especially one held as true by members of a profession, group, or movement.
Origin of tenet
1590-1600; < Latin: he holds
Can be confused
tenant, tenet.
belief, position.
Pronunciation note
The word tenet , defined here, should not be hard to pronounce. For speakers of American English, say the number ten, then add the pronoun it , and you have tenet , pronounced (ten ʹ it). Unfortunately, there is a similar-looking and similar-sounding word in English that is much more common—the word tenant , meaning someone who rents and occupies an apartment, office, etc. This word is pronounced (ten ʹ ənt), and its pronunciation is frequently used in error by people who intend to say tenet . Because both words involve sequences of the same letters t and n —both of which are pronounced with the tongue in the same place, touching the upper palate—it is easy for the extra n of the more common word tenant to creep into the pronunciation of tenet . With care, one can learn to pronounce these two words differently and appropriately. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for tenet
  • Now the rigor of scientific research is being applied to this seemingly ineffable tenet of religious belief.
  • One basic tenet is that the people who live and work near the ocean should play a role in conservation planning and management.
  • It is this paradox that stands behind the long-held tenet that doctors should not treat their own family.
  • King's questions for other skeptics and me typically miss this central tenet of science.
  • If a theory suggests that effect determines the cause then such proposal has to be beyond the basic tenet of science.
  • One is based on evidence and reasoning, the other based on accepting a tenet without evidence.
  • Governments have outlawed religiously-sanctioned polygamy, even when the practice has been a central tenet of faith.
British Dictionary definitions for tenet


/ˈtɛnɪt; ˈtiːnɪt/
a belief, opinion, or dogma
Word Origin
C17: from Latin, literally: he (it) holds, from tenēre to hold
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for tenet

"principle," properly "a thing held (to be true)," early 15c., from Latin tenet "he holds," third person singular present indicative of tenere "to hold, to keep, to maintain" from PIE root *ten- "to stretch" (cf. Sanskrit tantram "loom," tanoti "stretches, lasts;" Persian tar "string;" Lithuanian tankus "compact," i.e. "tightened;" Greek teinein "to stretch," tasis "a stretching, tension," tenos "sinew," tetanos "stiff, rigid," tonos "string," hence "sound, pitch;" Latin tendere "to stretch," tenuis "thin, rare, fine;" Old Church Slavonic tento "cord;" Old English thynne "thin"). Connection notion between "stretch" and "hold" is "to cause to maintain." The modern sense is probably because tenet was used in Medieval Latin to introduce a statement of doctrine.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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