tension - definition and synonyms


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  1. 1
    [uncountable] the feeling of being so nervous or worried that you cannot relax
    ease the tension:

    I tried to ease the tension (=make it less strong) with a joke.

    nervous tension:

    Symptoms include nervous tension, depression, and insomnia.

    1. a.
      the nervous feeling that you have when you are reading or watching something very exciting or frightening

      The tension is almost unbearable as the play approaches its climax.

  2. 2
    [countable/uncountable] the feeling caused by a lack of trust between people, groups, or countries who do not agree about something and may attack each other
    tension between:

    Measures are needed to reduce tension between the two states.

  3. 3
    [countable/uncountable] a situation in which opposing aims, ideas, or influences cause problems

    There is bound to be a certain tension between the freedom of individuals and the need for public safety.

  4. 4
    [uncountable] the degree to which something such as a rope or muscle is pulled tight

    Pull in the sail by increasing the tension of the rope.

    Can you feel the tension in your neck and shoulders?