Definition of tensile in English:



  • 1Relating to tension.

    • ‘Perhaps shear in soil is best understood in contrast with compressive forces that act head-to-head and tensile forces that act in opposite directions (pull).’
    • ‘As the water depth increased, the tensile load in the pipe also increased due to the greater weight of suspended pipe.’
    • ‘The pier concrete resists the compressive forces of the structure, and the steel reinforcing resists tensile forces, such as from soil heave.’
    • ‘They suggested that some tensile force must be present in the sequences containing polygonal fault networks, superimposed on the stresses induced by burial and gravitational loading, to induce shear failure.’
    • ‘Most simply, muscle fibers activated by the nervous system produce tensile forces that are transmitted to the skeleton.’
    • ‘All physical occurrences were viewed as being linked through tensile forces in the pneuma, and matter itself was held to derive its qualities form the ‘binding’ properties of the pneuma it contains.’
    • ‘It decreases the tensile forces placed upon the Achilles tendon via dissemination of forces resulting from a muscular contraction.’
    • ‘The successful treatment of posterior rotator cuff musculature tendinitis, or tensile rotator cuff musculature failure, depends on its differential diagnosis from internal impingement.’
    • ‘Several lines of evidence suggest the association between ActA and filaments ends is persistent and capable of supporting strong tensile or torsional forces over many cycles of monomer addition.’
    • ‘There was asphalt cracking due to tensile strain resulting from plastic deformation within the crushed rock.’
    • ‘‘Plain’ concrete is placed when the structure must resist mostly compression forces and when tensile stresses are low.’
    • ‘This tensile structure is a balance of the forces of tension and compression through five major components.’
    • ‘Large valgus and extension moments lead to tensile stress on medial structures, compressive force laterally, and shear force posteriorly.’
    • ‘The trusses serve to resist horizontal tensile forces on the nineteenth-century masonry walls that would otherwise be exerted by the weight of the canopy tending to drag the tracks towards the middle of the court.’
    • ‘The boy was stunned by the dynamism, precision and tensile control in every pose.’
    • ‘The resulting tensile forces on the beads mimicked those in a traction splint, which is sometimes used to hold fractured bones in place.’
    • ‘Compressive forces are generally significantly greater than the tensile forces generated in a tensile test.’
    • ‘A propagating dyke (whether of igneous or elastic origin) is an example of an opening mode fracture that propagates as a tensile crack in a plane normal to the least compressive stress direction.’
    • ‘That matrix has very low tensile strength.’
    • ‘It turns out that:… eccentric exercise in particular causes structural damage as, for a given tensile load, there are fewer motor units recruited within the muscle, increasing the tensile load per motor unit.’
  • 2Capable of being drawn out or stretched.

    • ‘But if you look at plastics - the case of a computer, for example - they have tensile properties which were just unheard of 20 or 30 years ago, but the genius is at the molecular level: you can't see it.’
    • ‘The blaze created a fireball that burned at up to 1,400 degrees Centigrade and melted the tensile steel cables which supported the men's platform.’
    • ‘This is the same material that is used to reinforce the super structure of space shuttles and line safes, as it is the hardest and the most tensile metal known to man.’
    • ‘And at the other end I found a new-looking amphitheatre of sloping grass and concrete covered by a big tensile roof, in which a band was playing and hundreds of people were milling around.’
    • ‘How firm on one's feet, on the solid ground of truth, one feels among life's mysteries, in these supple, tenacious, tensile sentences.’
    • ‘In architecture, the steel frame and the enormous tensile capability of steel spawned both high-rise and long-span structures that radically transformed the scale and character of the built environment.’
    • ‘Stilt-like steel columns cross-braced by tensile wires hold up the roofs.’
    • ‘Where else could a blonde giant with muscles of tensile steel and overleaping ambition go, carve out an empire and boastfully display his Aryan might as a symbol to the world of what strength, discipline and power can achieve?’
    • ‘Situated at the location where the Vikings landed one thousand years ago, its design has a strong maritime theme, including a sail-like tensile canopy.’
    • ‘Therefore, concrete beams are reinforced with steel rods on the tensile side (in cross section) when experiencing bending.’
    • ‘Eva Jiricna's Faith Zone is a cluster of arched tensile canopies stretched out over sinuous walls.’
    • ‘It's based around the Zoom Air insole, which uses tensile strings encased in a heavy-gas filled capsule to deliver shock protection in an ultra-thin package.’
    • ‘Steel plates connect the flanges of the columns, producing an in-situ tensile membrane capable of resisting loads up to 50 psi.’
    • ‘The radial stress is compressive, i.e., it tends to compress the annulus in the radial direction, and the tangential stress is tensile, i.e., it tends to stretch the annulus in the tangential direction.’
    • ‘Designed to withstand heavy snowloads (it can withstand 300 mm of winter sag), the roof is held in place by a Heath Robinsonian confection of steel props, springs and tensile wires.’
    • ‘Secondary elements, of stainless steel, include rails fixed to tensile rods for clothes, and frames suspended from rollers along the top of bays.’
    • ‘The two stands are protected by a featherweight roof of ribbed metal panels slung between a network of steel tensile cables.’
    • ‘The eye isn't as sharp, the wrists are less tensile, the legs give in to his perennial problem - cramp - that much more easily.’
    • ‘Seuss railed against the evil isms of his day - fascism, anti-Semitism, anti-black racism - with the full force of his tensile imagination.’
    • ‘The second important component of the tensile structure is the compressive steel frame which serves to push and pull the fabric into the desired shape.’
    pliable, pliant, flexible, supple, plastic, tractile
    View synonyms


Early 17th century (in tensile (sense 2)): from medieval Latin tensilis, from Latin tendere ‘to stretch’.