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90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.



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noun tension pronunciation in British English /ˈtenʃ(ə)n/
Word Forms
  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

    racial/political/social tensions

    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?


… a teaching method in which groups of children learn independently using a computer linked to the internet

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a derogatory word used for referring to people in the banking and investment industry who are thought of as taking serious risks in order to increase their own earnings …

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