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1Mathematics A mathematical object analogous to but more general than a vector, represented by an array of components that are functions of the coordinates of a space.
‘The three components of the tensors were averaged to report the overall rate of diffusion or tumbling.’
‘For our purposes, a tensor is an array of values (such as a vector or a matrix) that has the property that the relationship to other such arrays is unchanged if we rotate the coordinate axes (I discuss the biological meaning of this below).’
‘But the gravitational field is a symmetric tensor rather than a vector, and this means the graviton is spin-two, rather than spin-one like the photon.’
‘Next above a vector are tensors of order 2, which are often referred to as matrices.’
‘This compares three sequences at a time using a tensor (three-dimensional array) which records the frequencies of nucleotide triplets across the three sequences.’
2Anatomy A muscle that tightens or stretches a part of the body.
‘The more common external/lateral syndrome occurs when the iliotibial band, tensor muscle of fascia lata or gluteus medius tendon rides back and forth across the greater trochanter, where bursitis may also develop.’
‘This muscle is considered to be a tensor fasciae plantaris.’
‘Two muscles - the tensor and levator palatine muscles - help the tube open and close.’
Origin
Early 18th century: modern Latin, from Latin tendere ‘to stretch’.