Meaning of TENSION in English


/ ˈtenʃn; NAmE / noun , verb

■ noun


[ U , C , usually pl. ] tension (between A and B) a situation in which people do not trust each other, or feel unfriendly towards each other, and which may cause them to attack each other :

There is mounting tension along the border.

international / racial / political tensions


[ C , U ] tension (between A and B) a situation in which the fact that there are different needs or interests causes difficulties :

There is often a tension between the aims of the company and the wishes of the employees.


[ U ] a feeling of anxiety and stress that makes it impossible to relax :

nervous tension

We laughed and that helped ease the tension .

➡ note at pressure


[ U ] the feeling of fear and excitement that is created by a writer or a film / movie director :

dramatic tension

As the movie progresses the tension builds.


[ U ] the state of being stretched tight; the extent to which sth is stretched tight :

muscular tension

Adjust the string tension of your tennis racket to suit your style of playing.

—see also surface tension

■ verb

[ vn ] ( technical ) to make a wire, sail, etc. tight and stretched



mid 16th cent. (as a medical term denoting a condition or feeling of being physically stretched or strained): from French , or from Latin tensio(n-) , from tendere stretch.

Oxford Advanced Learner's English Dictionary.      Оксфордский английский словарь для изучающик язык на продвинутом уровне.