Meaning of tense


Pronunciation: (tens), [key]
— adj., v., tens•er, tens•est, tensed, tens•ing.
  1. stretched tight, as a cord, fiber, etc.; drawn taut; rigid.
  2. in a state of mental or nervous strain; high-strung; taut: a tense person.
  3. characterized by a strain upon the nerves or feelings: a tense moment.
  4. pronounced with relatively tense tongue muscles; narrow. Cf.(def. 7).
—v.t., v.i.
  1. to make or become tense.


Pronunciation: (tens), [key]
— n.
  1. a category of verbal inflection that serves chiefly to specify the time of the action or state expressed by the verb.
  2. a set of such categories or constructions in a particular language.
  3. the time, as past, present, or future, expressed by such a category.
  4. such categories or constructions, or their meanings collectively.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.
See also: