Meaning of TENSION in English
ten ‧ sion W2 AC /ˈtenʃ ə n/ BrE AmE noun
[ Word Family: noun : ↑ tenseness , ↑ tension ; verb : ↑ tense ; adverb : ↑ tensely ; adjective : ↑ tense ]
[ Date: 1500-1600 ; Language: French ; Origin: Latin tensio , from tendere ; ⇨ ↑ tend ]
1 . NERVOUS FEELING [uncountable] a nervous worried feeling that makes it impossible for you to relax ⇨ tense :
The tension was becoming unbearable, and I wanted to scream.
reduce/relieve/ease etc tension
Exercise is the ideal way to relieve tension after a hard day.
2 . NO TRUST [countable usually plural, uncountable] the feeling that exists when people or countries do not trust each other and may suddenly attack each other or start arguing
political/racial/social etc tension
In those days, there was a great deal of racial tension on campus.
The obvious tension between Warren and Anne made everyone else uncomfortable.
3 . DIFFERENT INFLUENCES [uncountable and countable] if there is tension between two things, there is a difference between the needs or influences of each, and that causes problems
In business, there’s always a tension between the needs of customers and shareholders.
4 . TIGHTNESS [uncountable] tightness or stiffness in a wire, rope, muscle etc:
Tension in the neck muscles can cause headaches.
Muscle tension can be a sign of stress.
5 . FORCE [uncountable] the amount of force that stretches something:
This wire will take 50 pounds tension.
There was a lot of tension on the wire before it snapped.
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COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 1)
The tension was almost unbearable by the time we reached the decisive last round.
▪ nervous tension
The night before the wedding my mother was in a state of nervous tension.
▪ high tension
There was a moment of high tension as the firemen entered the burning building.
▪ dramatic tension (=the tension you feel when you are not sure quite what will happen in a story)
This uncertainty adds to the film’s dramatic tension.
▪ reduce/ease/relieve tension
Breathing deeply helps to clear my mind and reduce tension.
▪ sense the tension
She could sense the tension in the room.
▪ a state of tension
Marjorie lived in a constant state of tension waiting for his phone calls.
▪ an atmosphere of tension
Voting took place in an atmosphere of tension.
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COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 2)
▪ racial tension
Racial tension boiled over and riots quickly spread.
▪ social tension
The economic crisis was accompanied by mounting social tension.
▪ political tension
The heightened political tension could easily spill over into violence.
▪ tension is/remains high
After the election, political tension remains high.
▪ increasing/growing/mounting/rising tension
There are reports of increasing tension in some areas.
▪ heightened tension (=greater than before)
a time of heightened tension between the two countries
▪ defuse tension (=make a situation more friendly)
He searched for ways of defusing racial tension.
▪ raise/increase the tension
The arrests only served to raise the tension.
▪ a source of tension
This agreement should remove a major source of tension among America’s allies.
Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English. Longman - Словарь современного английского языка. 2012