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English definition of “tense”

tense

adjective  /tens/ us  

tense adjective (NERVOUS)

anxious, unable to relax, or causing anxiety: She was very tense as she waited for the interview. The family was faced with a tense financial situation. If a situation is tense, it causes feelings of worry or anxiety.

tense adjective (STIFF)

tight and stiff: Relax! Why are you so tense?

tense

noun [C]  /tens/ us  

tense noun [C] (VERB FORM)

grammar any of the forms of a verb which show the time at which an action happened: "I sing" is in the present tense and shows action happening now, and "I will sing" is in the future tense, showing action that will happen later.

tense

verb [I/T]  /tens/ us  

tense verb [I/T] (MAKE STIFF)

to make your body or muscles tight and stiff, or to become tight and stiff: [T] He tensed his body just before diving from the high board. [I] She tensed up as the car went faster and faster.
(Definition of tense from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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