on tenterhooks

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tense in anticipation of something.
The phrase originated in the wool industry where fleeces were stretched on a frame between hooks to dry after washing the fleeces.
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It was results day and he was on tenterhooks waiting to find out whether he had passed his exams.

Submitted on February 10, 2014

Additional definitions for 'on tenterhooks':

on tenterhooksIn a state of suspense or apprehension.
On TenterhooksState of suspense, worried about something, agitated because of uncertainty
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Nearby phrases

Some more phrases from our dictionary similar to on tenterhooks

How to pronounce this phrase?

  1. Alex
    Alex
    US English
    Daniel
    Daniel
    British
    Karen
    Karen
    Australian
    Veena
    Veena
    Indian

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"on tenterhooks." Phrases.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 5 Jul 2020. <https://www.phrases.com/phrase/on-tenterhooks_10092>.

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