Why was clemency trending last week?


[ten-yoo-uh s] /ˈtɛn yu əs/
thin or slender in form, as a thread.
lacking a sound basis, as reasoning; unsubstantiated; weak:
a tenuous argument.
thin in consistency; rare or rarefied.
of slight importance or significance; unsubstantial:
He holds a rather tenuous position in history.
lacking in clarity; vague:
He gave a rather tenuous account of his past life.
Origin of tenuous
1590-1600; tenu(ity) + -ous
Related forms
tenuously, adverb
tenuousness, noun
untenuous, adjective
untenuously, adverb
untenuousness, noun
1. attenuated. 4. insignificant, unimportant, trivial, trifling.
1. thick. 4. important, substantial. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for tenuously
  • Most of the museums do a fine job, but they are tenuously related to the well-managed libraries.
  • Even if only linked tenuously, many would promote the negative aspect, perhaps because they might support an agenda opposed to it.
  • It seems impossible that life could go on in such a waterless place but, however tenuously, it does.
  • Both have been applied more and more tenuously to cover centuries of technological and sociological change.
  • Some folding chairs are tenuously roped to the car's side, and a fishing pole sticks out a window.
  • For decades, it clung tenuously to life, barely preserved by a couple of distilleries that would not let it lapse.
  • Each year, it snaps in a different place and is eventually retied, if tenuously.
  • They cling tenuously to a harmony-melody tradition, but their grasp is weak and failing.
  • When descending, please avoid the scree slopes, as rare plants tenuously exist there.
  • tenuously protected by state and federal environmental regulations, their future remains at stake.
British Dictionary definitions for tenuously


insignificant or flimsy: a tenuous argument
slim, fine, or delicate: a tenuous thread
diluted or rarefied in consistency or density: a tenuous fluid
Derived Forms
tenuity (tɛˈnjʊɪtɪ), tenuousness, noun
tenuously, adverb
Word Origin
C16: from Latin tenuis
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 tenuously



1590s, irregularly formed from Latin tenuis "thin," from PIE root *ten- "to stretch" (cf. Sanskrit tanuh "thin," literally "stretched out;" see tenet) + -ous. The correct form with respect to the Latin is tenuious. The sense of "having slight importance, not substantial" is found from c.1817.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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