• WordNet 3.6
    • n tenseness (psychology) a state of mental or emotional strain or suspense "he suffered from fatigue and emotional tension","stress is a vasoconstrictor"
    • n tenseness the physical condition of being stretched or strained "it places great tension on the leg muscles","he could feel the tenseness of her body"
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
  • Interesting fact: The past-tense of the English word "dare" is "durst".
    • n tenseness The state of being tense, or stretched to stiffness; stiffness; rigidness.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • ns Tenseness state of being tense
    • ***


  • 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.”


Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
L. tensus, pa.p. of tendĕre, to stretch.


In literature:

There was something tense about her attitude.
"The Swindler and Other Stories" by Ethel M. Dell
And at the proper moment the commander, standing tensely on the bridge, released a depth-bomb from its fixed place.
"Our Navy in the War" by Lawrence Perry
Lee Fu waited tensely, peering ahead and to windward with lightning glances.
"The Best Short Stories of 1921 and the Yearbook of the American Short Story" by Various
Haney looked tense and strained.
"Space Tug" by Murray Leinster
He felt Tau tense beside him.
"Voodoo Planet" by Andrew North
They waited a moment, both tense.
"Daughter of the Sun" by Jackson Gregory
And then, stranger sound still through that tense silence, came Bill Royce's low laugh.
"Man to Man" by Jackson Gregory
A silence, the hush of tense anticipation, fell on them.
"The Substitute Prisoner" by Max Marcin
Beside him, he could sense the tenseness in Connel's body.
"The Revolt on Venus" by Carey Rockwell
He leaned forward, body tense and rigid.
"Steve Yeager" by William MacLeod Raine

In poetry:

What know I
Of the will of the tense bow from which I fly?
What the need or jest,
That feathers my flight to its bloody rest.
"Gisli: The Chieftain" by Isabella Valancy Crawford
As the leathern cestus binds
Tense the boxer's knotted hands;
So the strong wine round him winds,
Binds his thews to iron bands.
"The Helot" by Isabella Valancy Crawford
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
The wild vibration floats along,
O'er heart-strings tense its magic plying,
And wakes in every breast its song
Of love and gratitude undying.
"Centennial" by John Hay
A fragile lyre too tensely keyed and strung,
A broken music, weirdly incomplete:
Here a proud mind, self-baffled and self-stung,
Lies coiled in dark defeat.
"Broken Music" by Thomas Bailey Aldrich
Only at times, the curtain of the pupils
lifts, quietly—. An image enters in,
rushes down through the tensed, arrested muscles,
plunges into the heart and is gone.
"The Panther" by Rainer Maria Rilke

In news:

But it was flawed by the tense of a verb: "the site where Christians believe that Jesus is buried".
Greece faces a tense wait Tuesday for vital bailout money as finance ministers from the 17 European Union countries that use the euro try to reach an agreement on how to put the country's economic recovery back on the right track.
Along Gaza, a Quiet (but Still Tense) Life.
DENVER — Airports can be tense and testy places in the best of times.
The last eight months have featured endless back-and-forths, tense stalemates, and spirited confrontations.
The situation in the Middle East remains tense, with new updates coming to light with each passing day.
Now the series is tied at 1-1 since the Nets moved to Brooklyn, both games coming down to the tense final minutes.
Merkel meets Netanyahu in Berlin as relations between 2 sides have grown tense.
Running back Raymond Maples faced conflicting emotions Saturday after a tense Army-Navy game that ended in disappointment for his team.
WASHINGTON — President Obama leaped back into the presidential campaign Tuesday, aggressively challenging rival Mitt Romney in a tense debate likely to reset the contest as it heads into the final weeks.
Some tense moments Tuesday night on the UK campus after a suspicious package is found.
Things are tense these days in the Wallace household.
It was fast-paced and it was tense, with strong dialogue — especially the rooftop speech in which Carrie convinced Saul to trust her and her informant.
He's always angry, often tense.
We know that we're going to hear tense, horror-movie soundtrack music.

In science:

More details of these difficult and sometimes tense deliberations and decisions are given in my own popular account mentioned above.
Hipparcos: a Retrospective
So far we have concentrated on the semantic problems raised by tense and aspect.
Generating models for temporal representations
Model builders typically build the smallest models possible, but such models may not be suitable for all tense and aspectual combinations, which often underspecify the temporal profile of the situations of interest.
Generating models for temporal representations
In this section, we shall discuss the logical modeling of tense and aspect, drawing on some simple examples from Polish, and informally introduce a temporal ontology of time and events which will let us express temporal and aspectual distinctions in a precise way.
Generating models for temporal representations
We are interested in computationally modeling tense and aspectual distinctions.
Generating models for temporal representations