A lot vs. Alot: 9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[ten-shuh n] /ˈtɛn ʃən/
the act of stretching or straining.
the state of being stretched or strained.
mental or emotional strain; intense, suppressed suspense, anxiety, or excitement.
a strained relationship between individuals, groups, nations, etc.
(not in current use) pressure, especially of a vapor.
  1. the longitudinal deformation of an elastic body that results in its elongation.
  2. the force producing such deformation.
Electricity. electromotive force; potential.
Machinery. a device for stretching or pulling something.
a device to hold the proper tension on the material being woven in a loom.
verb (used with object)
to subject (a cable, belt, tendon, or the like) to tension, especially for a specific purpose.
1525-35; < Latin tēnsiōn- (stem of tēnsiō) a stretching. See tense1, -ion
Related forms
tensional, adjective
tensionless, adjective
overtension, noun
supertension, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for tensions
  • Break the tensions of my nerves and muscles with the soothing music of singing streams that live in my memory.
  • Again, there was neither conscious verbal nor numerical thought here, merely shifting muscle tensions and visual images in space.
  • How to use the tensions in your own life to galvanize your writing.
  • Large scale famine would certainly increase political tensions and could produce war.
  • They had their problems and tensions, but they lived in societies based on cooperation and negotiation.
  • So you could imagine there are all sorts of fraternal tensions going on there.
  • But in the short term it is creating new social and political tensions.
  • It is essential to view those tensions as normal, appropriate, and even useful.
  • It was later revealed that tensions between him and other senior officials had erupted into an argument and a shoving incident.
  • And national-global tensions aren't necessarily a function of language.
British Dictionary definitions for tensions


the act of stretching or the state or degree of being stretched
mental or emotional strain; stress
a situation or condition of hostility, suspense, or uneasiness
(physics) a force that tends to produce an elongation of a body or structure
  1. voltage, electromotive force, or potential difference
  2. (in combination): high-tension, low-tension
a device for regulating the tension in a part, string, thread, etc, as in a sewing machine
(knitting) the degree of tightness or looseness with which a person knits
Derived Forms
tensional, adjective
tensionless, adjective
Word Origin
C16: from Latin tensiō, from tendere to strain
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 tensions



1530s, "a stretched condition," from Middle French tension, from Latin tensionem (nominative tensio) "a stretching" (in Medieval Latin "a struggle, contest"), noun of state from tensus, past participle of tendere "to stretch," from PIE root *ten- "stretch" (see tenet). The sense of "nervous strain" is first recorded 1763. The meaning "electromotive force" (in high-tension wires) is recorded from 1802.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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tensions in Medicine

tension ten·sion (těn'shən)
Abbr. T

  1. The act or process of stretching something tight.

  2. The condition of so being stretched.

  3. A force tending to stretch or elongate something.

  4. The partial pressure of a gas, especially dissolved in a liquid such as blood.

  5. Mental, emotional, or nervous strain.

  6. Barely controlled hostility or a strained relationship between people or groups.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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tensions in Science
  1. A force that tends to stretch or elongate something.

  2. An electrical potential (voltage), especially as measured in electrical components such as transformers or power lines involved in the transmission of electrical power.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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