On Tenterhooks

Rate this phrase:(0.00 / 0 votes)
State of suspense, worried about something, agitated because of uncertainty


  • The idiom originated in the 18th century when a tenter was used to stretch the woven cloth. The hook used to hold the woven cloth to the tenter was named “tenterhook.” In the 18th century the term “on tenters” was used as a reference for a person who is worryingly sick due to a situation about to happen at a later stage. With the passage of time, the expression was modified to “tenterhooks” as the hooks are sharper to show the intensity of feeling.

The fans were on tenterhooks throughout the game.

Submitted on February 25, 2019

Additional definitions for 'On Tenterhooks':

on tenterhooksIn a state of suspense or apprehension.
on tenterhookstense 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.
See them all »


Find a translation for the On Tenterhooks phrase in other languages:

Select another language:

  • - Select -
  • Chinese - Simplified 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
  • Chinese - Traditional 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
  • Spanish Español (Spanish)
  • Esperanto Esperanto (Esperanto)
  • Japanese 日本語 (Japanese)
  • Portuguese Português (Portuguese)
  • German Deutsch (German)
  • Arabic العربية (Arabic)
  • French Français (French)
  • Russian Русский (Russian)
  • Kannada ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
  • Korean 한국어 (Korean)
  • Hebrew עברית (Hebrew)
  • Ukrainian Український (Ukrainian)
  • Urdu اردو (Urdu)
  • Hungarian Magyar (Hungarian)
  • Hindi मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
  • Indonesian Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Italian Italiano (Italian)
  • Tamil தமிழ் (Tamil)
  • Turkish Türkçe (Turkish)
  • Telugu తెలుగు (Telugu)
  • Thai ภาษาไทย (Thai)
  • Vietnamese Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
  • Czech Čeština (Czech)
  • Polish Polski (Polish)
  • Indonesian Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Romanian Românește (Romanian)
  • Dutch Nederlands (Dutch)
  • Greek Ελληνικά (Greek)
  • Latin Latinum (Latin)
  • Swedish Svenska (Swedish)
  • Danish Dansk (Danish)
  • Finnish Suomi (Finnish)
  • Persian فارسی (Persian)
  • Yiddish ייִדיש (Yiddish)
  • Armenian հայերեն (Armenian)
  • Norwegian Norsk (Norwegian)
  • English English (English)

Nearby phrases

Some more phrases from our dictionary similar to On Tenterhooks

Discuss this On Tenterhooks phrase with the community:


Use the citation below to add this On Tenterhooks definition to your bibliography:


"On Tenterhooks." Phrases.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2019. Web. 5 Dec. 2019. <https://www.phrases.com/phrase/on-tenterhooks_44893>.

We need you!

Help us build the largest human-edited phrases collection on the web!

Thanks for your vote! We truly appreciate your support.