• WordNet 3.6
    • adj tense taut or rigid; stretched tight "tense piano strings"
    • adj tense pronounced with relatively tense tongue muscles (e.g., the vowel sound in `beat')
    • adj tense in or of a state of physical or nervous tension
    • v tense cause to be tense and uneasy or nervous or anxious "he got a phone call from his lawyer that tensed him up"
    • v tense become tense, nervous, or uneasy "He tensed up when he saw his opponent enter the room"
    • v tense increase the tension on "alternately relax and tense your calf muscle","tense the rope manually before tensing the spring"
    • v tense become stretched or tense or taut "the bodybuilder's neck muscles tensed"," "the rope strained when the weight was attached"
    • n tense a grammatical category of verbs used to express distinctions of time
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: The past-tense of the English word "dare" is "durst".
    • n Tense (Gram) One of the forms which a verb takes by inflection or by adding auxiliary words, so as to indicate the time of the action or event signified; the modification which verbs undergo for the indication of time.☞ The primary simple tenses are three: those which express time past present, and future; but these admit of modifications, which differ in different languages.
    • a Tense Stretched tightly; strained to stiffness; rigid; not lax; as, a tense fiber. "The temples were sunk, her forehead was tense , and a fatal paleness was upon her."
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n tense Time. See temps.
    • n tense In grammar: Time.
    • n tense One of the forms, or sets of forms, which a verb takes in order to indicate the time of action or of that which is affirmed: extended also to forms indicating the nature of the action as continued, completed, and the like. In English this is effected either by internal vowel change, as in sing, sang, lead, led; by terminational inflection, as in love, loved; or, in verb-phrases, by means of auxiliary words, as in did love, have loved, will love.
    • tense Being in a state of tension; stretched until tight; strained to stiffness; rigid; not lax: often used figuratively.
    • tense To make tense or taut.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Tense tens time in grammar, the form of a verb to indicate the time of the action.
    • adj Tense tens strained to stiffness: rigid
    • ***


  • Rainer Maria Rilke
    “Who's not sat tense before his own heart's curtain.”
  • Friedrich Nietzsche
    “Existence really is an imperfect tense that never becomes a present.”
  • Source Unknown
    Source Unknown
    “Past tense means you used to be nervous.”
  • George Ade
    George Ade
    “Nothing is improbable until it moves into past tense.”
  • Sam Snead
    Sam Snead
    “Of the mental hazards, being scared is the worst. When you get scared, you get tense.”
  • Camille Paglia
    “Pornography is human imagination in tense theatrical action; its violations are a protest against the violations of our freedom by nature.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
OF. tens, properly, time, F. temps, time, tense. See Temporal of time, and cf. Thing
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
L. tensus, pa.p. of tendĕre, to stretch.


In literature:

In the silence that followed, Gaddon's tense breathing was the only sound.
"The Monster" by S. M. Tenneshaw
So the Bunch returned tensely to Jarviston, with more time to sweat out.
"The Planet Strappers" by Raymond Zinke Gallun
Long before the court began its sitting, the air was hot and tense with eager curiosity.
"The Day of Judgment" by Joseph Hocking
When he resumed his voice was pitched lower, but was very tense.
"The Fire People" by Ray Cummings
With every muscle tense they whirled the handles up and down like human engines.
"The Young Railroaders" by Francis Lovell Coombs
Only the boy, peering through the knothole, was tense and vibrant.
"Frank of Freedom Hill" by Samuel A. Derieux
It carried, too, to the other side of the street, and the girl saw faces grow suddenly tense; noted the stiffening of bodies.
"'Firebrand' Trevison" by Charles Alden Seltzer
Alan waited tensely while MacIntosh crossed the room again, drew out the contents of the tube, and scanned them.
"Starman's Quest" by Robert Silverberg
Walking fast, tense and ready to spring at all times, their eyes never still for an instant.
"Deathworld" by Harry Harrison
"A Handbook of the English Language" by Robert Gordon Latham

In poetry:

Nearer and ever nearer….
My body tired but tense
Hovers 'twixt vague pleasure
And tremulous confidence.
"The Approach" by Robert Nichols
Burning with heat and cold
In April's tender weather
I let my tense hands hold
All they could gather of love.
"For the Seasons" by Marya Zaturenska
Still the strength his fathers knew
(Dauntless when the foe they fac'd)
Vein and muscle bounded through,
Tense his Helot sinews brac'd.
"The Helot" by Isabella Valancy Crawford
For every line is tense with truth,
There's hope and joy on every page;
A cheer, a clarion call to Youth,
A hymn, a comforter to Age:
All's there that I was meant to be,
My part divine, the God in me.
"My Book" by Robert W Service
You are all that is lovely and light,
Aziza whom I adore,
And, waking, after the night,
I am weary with dreams of you.
Every nerve in my heart is tense and sore
As I rise to another morning apart from you.
"Prayer" by Laurence Hope
Time was, when first that voice I heard,
Despite my close and tense endeavour,
When many an important word
Was lost and gone forever;
Though, unlike others at the play,
I never whispered: "wha'd'd she say?"
"Footlight Motifs" by Franklin Pierce Adams

In news:

It's true the missile crisis was full of tense moments.
The tense relationship with a major trade partner.
Sierra Leone tense ahead of 'extremely delicate ' election Saturday.
Turkey said Sunday that it had scrambled fighter jets along its increasingly tense border with Syria after Syrian helicopters were detected close to the two nations' long frontier.
A lizard, an unhinged roommate and a kidnapped single mom make up Diana Wagman's tense 'The Care and Feeding of Exotic Pets.'.
But if you want something sharp and tense, "You Don't Want to Know" is a book you don't want to read.
The race for mayor is getting tense.
Election Day is here and the race for mayor is getting tense.
Despite a tense campaign, US Rep Keith Ellison easily won re-election to represent the 5th Congressional District in Congress.
Sierra Leone tense ahead of ' extremely delicate' election Saturday.
El Paso,TX — There were some tense moments Wendesday afternoon after an apartment complex caught fire.
The Selectboard, Town Manager Barbara Sondag and the town's department heads, battled through a detailed, and sometimes tense, four hour meeting Saturday morning to try to reduce the proposed fiscal year 2014 budget.
Sheffield Wednesday goalkeeper Chris Kirkland was hit in the face and then shoved to the ground by a Leeds United fan during a tense 1-1 draw at Hillsborough on Friday night.
Y ou didn't need to listen to the words to know how tense things have become at the Scott County Courthouse.
In "The Heiress," which opens on Broadway next month, the Sloper household is as tense as it is beautifully furnished.

In science:

In this paper we have discussed a logic-based approach to modeling temporal information, and in particular, information about tense and aspect.
Generating models for temporal representations
On the inference side we have provided a first-order theory which, although inspired by work on English, seems general enough to provide analyses of tense and aspect in other languages.
Generating models for temporal representations
We show that any transversally complete Riemannian foliation F of dimension one on any possibly non-compact manifold M is tense; namely, (M , F ) admits a Riemannian metric such that the mean curvature form of F is basic.
Tenseness of Riemannian flows
This is a partial generalization of a result of Dom´ınguez, which says that any Riemannian foliation on any compact manifold is tense.
Tenseness of Riemannian flows
Any Riemannian foliation on a closed manifold is tense.
Tenseness of Riemannian flows