Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “tense”

tense

adjective (NERVOUS)    /tens/
B2 nervous and worried and unable to relax: She was very tense as she waited for the interview.Anxious and worried B2 If a situation is tense, it causes feelings of worry or nervousness: There were some tense moments in the second half of the game.Causing anxiety and worryMaking people sad, shocked and upset tensely     /ˈtens.li/ adverb tenseness     /ˈtens.nəs/ noun [U] Tight and tightening
(Definition of tense adjective (NERVOUS) from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
Focus on the pronunciation of tense

Browse related topics

You are looking at an entry to do with Causing anxiety and worry, but you might be interested in these topics from the Anxiety and worry topic area:

Definitions of “tense” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

well in (with)

to have a good relationship with someone in which they like you and from which you get an advantage

Word of the Day

Blog

Read our blog about how the English language behaves.

Learn More

New Words

Find words and meanings that have just started to be used in English, and let us know what you think of them.

Learn More