tenuous

[ten-yoo-uhs]
adjective
1.
thin or slender in form, as a thread.
2.
lacking a sound basis, as reasoning; unsubstantiated; weak: a tenuous argument.
3.
thin in consistency; rare or rarefied.
4.
of slight importance or significance; unsubstantial: He holds a rather tenuous position in history.
5.
lacking in clarity; vague: He gave a rather tenuous account of his past life.

Origin:
1590–1600; tenu(ity) + -ous

tenuously, adverb
tenuousness, noun
untenuous, adjective
untenuously, adverb
untenuousness, noun


1. attenuated. 4. insignificant, unimportant, trivial, trifling.


1. thick. 4. important, substantial.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
tenuous (ˈtɛnjʊəs)
 
adj
1.  insignificant or flimsy: a tenuous argument
2.  slim, fine, or delicate: a tenuous thread
3.  diluted or rarefied in consistency or density: a tenuous fluid
 
[C16: from Latin tenuis]
 
tenuity
 
n
 
'tenuousness
 
n
 
'tenuously
 
adv

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

tenuous
1597, irregularly formed from L. tenuis "thin," from PIE base *ten- "to stretch" (cf. Skt. tanuh "thin," lit. "stretched out;" see tenet) + -ous. The correct form with respect to the L. root would be tenuious. The sense of "having slight importance, not substantial" is found from c.1817.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
It is both rare and dependent, the last tenuous piece on a whirring mobile of
  coastal life.
Dugongs are now legally protected throughout their range, but their populations
  are still in a tenuous state.
Even the presence of an tenuous atmosphere had only been discovered two years
  prior.
Gardens of monkey flower and cave primrose take tenuous hold in aired-out
  alcoves wet from seeps.
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