tense - definition in the British English Dictionary & Thesaurus - Cambridge Dictionaries Online (US)

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English definition of “tense”

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tense

noun [C] uk   us   /tens/
B1 any of the forms of a verb which show the time at which an action happened: "I sing" is in the present tense and "I sang" is in the past tense.
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  • How do you say that in the future tense?
  • Add -ed to all these verbs to put them in the past tense.
  • Which tenses do you know already?

tense

adjective uk   us   /tens/

tense adjective (NERVOUS)

B2 nervous and worried and unable to relax: She was very tense as she waited for the interview.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.
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tense adjective (STRETCHED)

(of your body or part of the body) stretched tight and stiff

tense adjective ()

specialized phonetics (of a speech sound) made with more force than other speech sounds
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tensely
adverb uk   us   /ˈtens.li/
tenseness
noun [U] uk   us   /ˈtens.nəs/

tense

verb [I or T] uk   us   /tens/ (also tense up)
If you or your muscles tense, your muscles become stiff and tight because you are frightened or nervous, or are preparing yourself to do something: Don't tense your shoulders, just relax. I could feel myself tense up as he touched my neck.tensed up very nervous and worried and unable to relax because of something that is going to happen: You seem very tensed up. Are you still waiting for that call?
(Definition of tense from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
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