Definition of tenacious in US English:



  • 1Tending to keep a firm hold of something; clinging or adhering closely.

    ‘a tenacious grip’
    • ‘They brushed at tenacious bits of clinging greenery.’
    • ‘I think that Africa will always hold a tenacious grip on me, and I do feel sad to be leaving my friends.’
    • ‘He has maintained, perhaps even increased, his tenacious grip on power.’
    • ‘All the fish of these jungle rivers demonstrate a desperately tenacious grip on life.’
    • ‘Popular culture has a tenacious grip on most kids, parents, and even us teachers.’
    • ‘They both maintain a tenacious grip on the receiver and attempt to get it away from each other.’
    • ‘The state is suffering under a tenacious recession.’
    • ‘Special solvents control the coalescence of the latex particles into a tough, tenacious film.’
    • ‘They had a steadfast, tenacious grip on what they believed should be brought to the profession.’
    firm, tight, fast, clinging
    sticky, adhesive, clinging, gluey, gummy, glutinous, viscid, viscous, mucilaginous
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    1. 1.1 Not readily relinquishing a position, principle, or course of action; determined.
      ‘you're tenacious and you get at the truth’
      ‘the most tenacious politician’
      • ‘They were tenacious and brave and I couldn't have asked for anything more from them.’
      • ‘He was targeted by another stalker, equally as tenacious as the first.’
      • ‘They seem tenacious in their determination to get at the truth.’
      • ‘The organization needed a strong, tenacious leader.’
      • ‘He was one of the most tenacious individuals I'd ever come across.’
      • ‘They are persistent, strong-willed individuals who may become even more tenacious when faced with obstacles.’
      • ‘He is more tenacious than he is fast.’
      • ‘He is remembered as a tenacious and talented reporter.’
      • ‘His tenacious spirit and unswerving loyalty came in for praise.’
      • ‘I was just tenacious and determined and ran all day.’
      • ‘She has been a tenacious champion of human rights for many years.’
      • ‘I have been pursued by the most relentless and the most tenacious women on earth!’
      • ‘He is a brilliant commentator and tenacious advocate of his position.’
      • ‘The team has a fabulous, tenacious defense.’
      • ‘He has a reputation for being a tough and tenacious negotiator.’
      • ‘While being smart is good, working hard and being tenacious is even better.’
      • ‘She appeared to be very tenacious and very determined.’
      • ‘The debate was fast and furious, with the press at their most tenacious.’
      • ‘We ended up with tenacious and powerful opposition.’
      • ‘Effective discipline must be enduring and tenacious.’
      retentive, good
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    2. 1.2 Persisting in existence; not easily dispelled.
      ‘a tenacious local legend’
      • ‘The tribal loyalties of some hostel residents have proved tenacious.’
      • ‘These hardy and tenacious insects have lived on the planet for 400 million years.’
      • ‘His rosy view has proved remarkably tenacious.’
      persevering, persistent, pertinacious, determined, dogged, single-minded, strong-willed, tireless, indefatigable, resolute, patient, purposeful, diligent, assiduous, sedulous, unflagging, staunch, steadfast, untiring, unwavering, unswerving, unshakeable, unyielding, uncompromising, insistent, importunate, relentless, unrelenting, inexorable, implacable
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Early 17th century: from Latin tenax, tenac- (from tenere ‘to hold’) + -ious.