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[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.
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 tenets
  • Suppose a tree falls in the forest, and takes crashing down with it one of the tenets of ecology.
  • Its existence has long been known, primarily because of surviving anti-heretical works that denounce its tenets.
  • The realization seemed to defy one of the central tenets of a successful raft trip.
  • The river pollution has challenged some of the basic tenets of aboriginal life.
  • The nature and depth of the financial crisis is forcing us to reconsider some of the basic tenets of financial theory.
  • They have societies to cabal and correspond at home and abroad for the propagation of their tenets.
  • These people already don't have any real scientific arguments against the basic tenets of the science.
  • Some of their tenets are a bit vague surrounding what they consider acceptable fruits and vegetables.
  • Hopefully, these three tips shed a little light on some basic marketing tenets.
  • In some cases, that means introducing the basic tenets of intelligent design.
British Dictionary definitions for tenets


/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 tenets



"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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