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Tenterhooks

I am on tenterhooks, or on tenterhooks of great expectation. My curiosity is on the full stretch, I am most curious or anxious to hear the issue. Cloth, after being woven, is stretched or “tentered” on hooks passed through the selvages. (Latin, tentus, stretched, hence “tent,” canvas stretched.)

“He was not kept an instant on the tenterhooks of impatience longer than the appointed moment.” —Sir W. Scott: Redgauntlet, chap. xvi.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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