tension Definition

  • 1the state of being stretched tight
  • 2mental or emotional strain
  • 3a relationship between ideas or qualities with conflicting demands or implications

Using tension: Examples

Take a moment to familiarize yourself with how "tension" can be used in various situations through the following examples!

  • Example

    The tension in the rope was almost unbearable.

  • Example

    The political tension between the two countries was high.

  • Example

    The tension in the room was palpable as they waited for the test results.

tension Synonyms and Antonyms

Antonyms for tension

Idioms Using tension

  • on tenterhooks

    in a state of suspense or anxiety


    I've been on tenterhooks waiting for the results of my job interview.

  • a situation where there is a lot of tension or unease in the air


    The tension in the room was so thick you could cut it with a knife.

  • to make a situation less stressful or difficult


    Listening to music helps take the tension out of a long commute.

Phrases with tension

  • a feeling of sexual attraction or desire between two people that is not acted upon


    There was a lot of sexual tension between them, but they never acted on it.

  • a type of headache caused by muscle tension in the head, neck, and shoulders


    I get tension headaches when I'm stressed out at work.

  • a long, thin metal rod used to hold up curtains or other lightweight objects


    I need to buy a tension rod for the new curtains in my bedroom.

Origins of tension

from Latin 'tensio', meaning 'a stretching'


Summary: tension in Brief

The term 'tension' [ˈtenʃən] refers to the state of being stretched tight, mental or emotional strain, and conflicting demands or implications. It can be physical, emotional, or intellectual, as in 'The political tension between the two countries was high.' 'Tension' extends into phrases like 'sexual tension,' and idioms like 'cut the tension with a knife,' denoting a situation with a lot of tension or unease in the air.

How do native speakers use this expression?