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IE ten-  to stretch

The Greek teinein and the Latin tendere both mean ‘to stretch.’ Since a stretched wire also becomes thinner, the Latin tenuis means ‘thin, rare, fine.’ By the way, only those wires get stretched in the first place, which can withstand strain; others just break apart when they are pulled at the ends. That is why one of the Latin children of ten- is tenere, which means ‘to hold, keep, maintain.’


Arrey, do you know? Madan Lal had himself gone to Kishori’s house to extend the hand of friendship, but that Kishori, leave alone shaking his hand, seena taan ke khada ho gaya. I ran into Madan Lal on my way to the fields today. ‘Oh, you must have felt so slighted!’ I commiserated with him. He changed the topic but brothers, his brow had corrugated immediately; I saw it. He is smoldering with indignation (who wouldn’t, tell me?) and will take revenge for his insult. The tanaav between the two families is going to increase even more, I tell you.”


When the intransigent Kishori had stood up seena ‘taan’ ke, his chest was fully stretched out, and the ‘tanaav’ between the two families, which keeps the gossipy old men at the chaupaal so entertained, is the ‘tension’ between them.

to stretch

A stretched string or ribbon is called tonos in Greek, tani in Sanskrit, tand in Punjabi and taana in Hindi (as in taana-baana). Then, there is the Sanskrit word tantram, the loom on which the taana-baana is woven.


To ‘extend’ a hand of friendship is to stretch it out. A string that is tightly stretched, so that it is taut and rigid, is said to be ‘tense’, or in a state of ‘tension’ or ‘tanaav’. The adjective form of tense is tensile.


The ‘hypotenuse of a right triangle is the side that ‘stretches under’ (the right angle).


When his teachers praised Neeta Mehra’s son as the most diligent student in the class, her heart distended with pride. On the other hand, her sister Leela Motwani had to tender apologies to the principal on her son’s behalf. The principal was livid at Chintu Motwani and wanted to suspend him for beating up his juniors, contumacy to his teachers and cheating in exams.


Chintu Motwani was a real pain in the neck for all his teachers. He contended with everything they said, just to harass them. His contentions were often stupid, but if they ignored them, he would openly accuse them of being tendentious. His harried teachers were looking forward to his suspension. Alas, the principal agreed to give him another chance.


Slight: (v) to insult; (n) an insult.


Commiserate: (v) to share the misery, to show sympathy

Origin: L com-, together + miser, miserable


Corrugate: (v) to wrinkle; to wrinkle up in a sinusoidal wave-shaped folds.


Smolder: (v) to burn without flame; to burn with anger or hatred inside without showing it.

Origin: from smother


The English counterpart of the phrase taana-baana is warp and woof. The warp, or the taana, are parallel threads that are fully stretched across the length of the loom and tied to both its ends. The woof, or the baana, are then woven horizontally through alternately raised warps.

The fabric is thus produced as a uniform criss-cross of the horizontal and the vertical threads.


Taut: (adj) stretched tight.


Tensile: (adj) related with tension.

  • Tensile Strength is a term of material science. It means the maximum tension that a material can withstand without fracturing.
  • The word tensile is also used to mean tensible, that is, capable of being tense, hence, capable of being stretched. When used in this sense, like in the phrases ‘tensile wire’ or ‘tensile membrane’, the word becomes a synonym of ductile.

Distend: (v) to stretch; to swell.

Origin: L dis-, apart + tendere, to stretch


Tender: (v) to offer.

Origin: L tendere, to stretch, to extend.

There is another tender which means ‘soft’. It is not from the root tendere.


Contumacy: (n) rebelliousness

Origin: Contumacy is the refusal to obey a court order, which is usually punished as contempt of court. The word contempt is closely related with contumacy. See, contemn, contempt.

  • He told his teachers that he knew more about science than them. They called it contumacy and asked him to leave the college.

Contend: (v) argue, compete.

Origin: L com- + tendere, to stretch


Contention: (n) argument

Origin: from contend


Tendentious: (adj) partial, biased.

Origin: from ‘tendency.’ Origin of tendency: L tendere, to stretch => ‘to stretch in one direction, to lean’

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