1 [tent]
a portable shelter of skins, canvas, plastic, or the like, supported by one or more poles or a frame and often secured by ropes fastened to pegs in the ground.
something that resembles a tent.
verb (used with object)
to lodge in tents.
to cover with or as if with a tent: In winter the tennis courts are tented inplastic.
verb (used without object)
to live in a tent; encamp.

1250–1300; Middle English tente < Old French < Latin tenta, feminine of tentus past participle of tendere to extend, stretch; compare tentōrium tent

tentless, adjective
tentlike, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged


2 [tent]
verb (used with object) Chiefly Scot.
to give or pay attention to; heed.

1250–1300; Middle English, derivative of tent (noun) attention, aphetic variant of attent < Old French atente attention, intention < Latin attenta, feminine of attentus, past participle of attendere to attend


3 [tent] Surgery.
a probe.
a roll or pledget, usually of soft absorbent material, as lint or gauze, for dilating an orifice, keeping a wound open, etc.
verb (used with object)
to keep (a wound) open with a tent.

1325–75; Middle English tente a probe < Middle French, noun derivative of tenter < Latin tentāre, variant of temptāre to probe, test. See tempt

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
tent1 (tɛnt)
1.  a.  a portable shelter of canvas, plastic, or other waterproof material supported on poles and fastened to the ground by pegs and ropes
 b.  (as modifier): tent peg
2.  something resembling this in function or shape
3.  (intr) to camp in a tent
4.  (tr) to cover with or as if with a tent or tents
5.  (tr) to provide with a tent as shelter
[C13: from Old French tente, from Latin tentōrium something stretched out, from tendere to stretch]

tent2 (tɛnt)
1.  a plug of soft material for insertion into a bodily canal, etc, to dilate it or maintain its patency
2.  (tr) to insert such a plug into (a bodily canal, etc)
[C14 (in the sense: a probe): from Old French tente (noun), ultimately from Latin temptāre to try; see tempt]

tent3 (tɛnt)
obsolete a red table wine from Alicante, Spain
[C16: from Spanish tinto dark-coloured; see tint]

tent4 (tɛnt)
1.  heed; attention
2.  to pay attention to; take notice of
3.  to attend to
[C14: from attentattend and intent]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

c.1300, "portable shelter of skins or cloths stretched over poles," from O.Fr. tente (12c.), from M.L. tenta "a tent," noun use of fem. sing. of L. tentus "stretched," variant pp. of tendere "to stretch" (see tenet). The notion is of "stretching" hides over a framework. The
verb meaning "to camp in a tent" is recorded from 1856. Tent caterpillar first recorded 1854.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

tent 1 (těnt)
A canopy used in various types of inhalation therapy to control the humidity and oxygen concentration of inspired air.

tent 2
A small, cylindrical plug of lint or gauze used to keep open or probe a wound or an orifice. v. tent·ed, tent·ing, tents
To keep a wound or an orifice open with such a plug.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Bible Dictionary

Tent definition

(1.) Heb. 'ohel (Gen. 9:21, 27). This word is used also of a dwelling or habitation (1 Kings 8:66; Isa. 16:5; Jer. 4:20), and of the temple (Ezek. 41:1). When used of the tabernacle, as in 1 Kings 1:39, it denotes the covering of goat's hair which was placed over the mishcan. (2.) Heb. mishcan (Cant. 1:8), used also of a dwelling (Job 18:21; Ps. 87:2), the grave (Isa. 22:16; comp. 14:18), the temple (Ps. 46:4; 84:2; 132:5), and of the tabernacle (Ex. 25:9; 26:1; 40:9; Num. 1:50, 53; 10:11). When distinguished from 'ohel, it denotes the twelve interior curtains which lay upon the framework of the tabernacle (q.v.). (3.) Heb. kubbah (Num. 25:8), a dome-like tent devoted to the impure worship of Baal-peor. (4.) Heb. succah (2 Sam. 11:11), a tent or booth made of green boughs or branches (see Gen. 33:17; Lev. 23:34, 42; Ps. 18:11; Jonah 4:5; Isa. 4:6; Neh. 8:15-17, where the word is variously rendered). Jubal was "the father of such as dwell in tents" (Gen. 4:20). The patriarchs were "dwellers in tents" (Gen. 9:21, 27; 12:8; 13:12; 26:17); and during their wilderness wanderings all Israel dwelt in tents (Ex. 16:16; Deut. 33:18; Josh. 7:24). Tents have always occupied a prominent place in Eastern life (1 Sam. 17:54; 2 Kings 7:7; Ps. 120:5; Cant. 1:5). Paul the apostle's occupation was that of a tent-maker (Acts 18:3); i.e., perhaps a maker of tent cloth.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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Example sentences
If you can sew your clothing, you could make much better insulating clothing,
  much better tent structures to shelter.
He took up shelter in a canvas tent provided to all the arriving refugees.
For proof, one need only to have visited the hospital field tent.
The peers chose their reviewers from their own tent.
Images for tent
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