Just what could this weekвЂ™s subject be? Will you be on tenterhooks? What the deuce are tenterhooks?
First, why don’t we get something right: you’re on TENTERhooks, maybe not TENDERhooks.
Become on tenterhooks is usually to be filled up with painful or anxious expectation or suspense, such as for example when youвЂ™re waiting for the consequence of a significant medical test.
Where We Have The Word ‘Tenterhooks’
To determine just what a tenterhook is, we need to realize that way back when manufacturers kept freshly milled woolen fabric from shrinking whilst it dried by extending it on a wooden framework called a tenter. It comes down through the Latin term tentus, which means that вЂњto stretch.вЂќ
The 1845 Encyclopaedia Metropolitana or Universal Dictionary of real information, amount 1, describes a tenter as вЂњa wide range of straight articles fixed towards the ground, with a horizontal that is continuous rail in the top as long as the bit of fabric; additionally there are other horizontal rails that are fitted between your upright articles вЂ¦ both the top of and reduced rails are driven packed with tenterhooks; on these the listings associated with cloth are fastened, after which it the low or movable train is pressed downwards to your complete breadth associated with fabric, after which guaranteed with its destination because of the pins. The pieces are left to dry. in this stateвЂќ
Therefore a tenterhook is a steel hook that holds the fabric set up in the tenter, while the structures had been put down in areas therefore the wool could dry.
The Saturday Magazine, Volume 12 from 1838 defines the procedure such as this:
вЂњWhen the cloth first arises from the weaver, it really is really rough unsightly state, and possesses a number of oil вЂ¦ The second procedure is вЂscouring,вЂ™ which is done within the fulling-mill, the fabric being wet in an alkaline ley and beaten by equipment; it really is then well rinced with clear water and hung regarding the tenter-frames to dry.вЂќ
Maps Applied to demonstrate Tenter-Fields
Relating to Michael Quinion of this globally Words site, tenters had been therefore many and typical that old maps of England often called down certain specific areas as tenter-fields.
In this literal feeling, the reference that is earliest within the Oxford English Dictionary is from 1480, and also the earliest complete expression I am able to read without butchering it really is from 1518: Her fingernails since razor-sharp as tenterhooks.
How ‘Tenterhooks’ Got Its Current Meaning
The figurative meaning appears to stem through the proven fact that the drying fabric has been strained and extended by the tenterhooks dating for seniors zkuЕЎebnГ verze zdarma, and also by analogy, a person who is strained or extended to wits’ end is on tenterhooks such as the cloth. The very first guide for this figurative feeling is more than a couple of hundred years later on in 1748: we left him upon the tenterhooks of impatient doubt.
The OED states it is currently an unusual or obscure saying, but people additionally used to state they had been вЂњon tentersвЂќ or вЂњon the tenterвЂќ to suggest the same as вЂњon tenterhooks.вЂќ
So keep in mind, you arenвЂ™t on tenderhooks. YouвЂ™re on tenterhooks.
In regards to the writer
Mignon Fogarty could be the creator of fast and Dirty guidelines plus the composer of seven publications on language, such as the nyc days bestseller “Grammar Girl’s fast and Dirty strategies for Better Writing.” She actually is an inductee into the Podcasting Hall of Fame, plus the show is a five-time champion of Best Education Podcast when you look at the Podcast Awards. She’s appeared as a guest specialist regarding the Oprah Winfrey Show and also the Show today. Her LinkedIn that is popular Learning assist people compose more straightforward to communicate better.