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[ten-suh l, -sil or, esp. British, -sahyl] /ˈtɛn səl, -sɪl or, esp. British, -saɪl/
of or relating to tension:
tensile strain.
capable of being stretched or drawn out; ductile.
Origin of tensile
1620-30; < New Latin tēnsilis. See tense1, -ile
Related forms
[ten-sil-i-tee] /tɛnˈsɪl ɪ ti/ (Show IPA),
tensileness, noun
tensilely, adverb
nontensile, adjective
nontensility, noun
untensile, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for tensile
  • Spider silk has incredible tensile strength and is often touted as being several times stronger than steel of the same thickness.
  • Some silk made by orb weaver spiders rivals the tensile strength of steel.
  • Its high tensile strength is likely explained by its weblike structure and the way the fibers adhere to one another.
  • Concrete has high compressive strength but low tensile strength.
  • Bamboo has a higher tensile strength than steel and can be taped together with natural fibre and resin.
  • Her rigging parts are of galvanised iron instead of high-tensile steel.
  • The celebrated style, with its grace and high tensile strength, has not since been approximated.
  • But it is a good cut above the average, both in its writing and its tensile quality.
  • Claire is sharp-tongued and savagely fit, her forearms roped with high-tensile veins.
  • Mazda says it is the first automaker to successfully develop vehicle components using an ultra-high tensile steel.
British Dictionary definitions for tensile


of or relating to tension
sufficiently ductile to be stretched or drawn out
Derived Forms
tensilely, adverb
tensility (tɛnˈsɪlɪtɪ), tensileness, noun
Word Origin
C17: from New Latin tensilis, from Latin tendere to stretch
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 tensile

1620s, from Modern Latin tensilis "capable of being stretched," from Latin tensus, past participle of tendere "to stretch" (see tenet).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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