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tenterhook

[ten-ter-hoo k] /ˈtɛn tərˌhʊk/
noun
1.
one of the hooks or bent nails that hold cloth stretched on a tenter.
Idioms
2.
on tenterhooks, in a state of uneasy suspense or painful anxiety:
The movie keeps one on tenterhooks until the very last moment.
Origin
1470-1480
1470-80; tenter + hook
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for tenterhooks
  • Players in the multi-billion pound advertising market are on tenterhooks.
  • Since the summer they have been on tenterhooks to find out whether the government would bring them into line, too.
  • On tenterhooks and ready to explode due to problems which cannot be addressed so soon.
  • We were on tenterhooks, waiting to make sure that everyone was okay and to learn whether inter-island travel would be affected.
British Dictionary definitions for tenterhooks

tenterhook

/ˈtɛntəˌhʊk/
noun
1.
one of a series of hooks or bent nails used to hold cloth stretched on a tenter
2.
on tenterhooks, in a state of tension or suspense
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 tenterhooks
n.

late 15c., "one of the hooks that holds cloth on a tenter," from tenter + hook (n.). The figurative phrase on tenterhooks "in painful suspense" is from 1748; earlier to be on tenters (1530s).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with tenterhooks

tenterhooks

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Difficulty index for tenterhook

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Word Value for tenterhooks

18
18
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