American English

Definition of tense verb from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



[transitive, intransitive]Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they tense
he / she / it tenses
past simple tensed
-ing form tensing
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  • if you tense your muscles, or you or your muscles tense, they become tight and stiff, especially because you are not relaxed tense something/yourself (up) She tensed her muscles in anticipation of the blow. He tensed himself, listening to see if anyone had followed him. tense (up) His muscles tensed as he got ready to run. She tensed, hearing the strange noise again.
  • Idioms
    be/get tensed up
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    to become or feel nervous or worried so that you cannot relax
    See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: tense