Definition of tent in English:



  • 1A portable shelter made of cloth, supported by one or more poles and stretched tight by cords or loops attached to pegs driven into the ground.

    • ‘The temperature has been dropping and locals fear that this winter may prove particularly harsh, especially for those sheltering in tents.’
    • ‘At one time, the nomadic Kazaks lived in yurts, cone-shaped tents of white felt stretched over a framework of wooden poles.’
    • ‘He snatched his big horse's rope bridle from a post underneath the tent's shelter and stalked off.’
    • ‘A hundred American soldiers pitched tents on the legation grounds to be ready for any contingency.’
    • ‘They will stay in tents on camp sites each night and are hoping to complete the journey in eight days.’
    • ‘To her horror, it was already on fire and she worried about the huge wooden poles that supported the enormous tent.’
    • ‘The trip itself took about three days, but they had to sleep on the ground in their tents and sleeping bags every night.’
    • ‘These refugees literally ‘camped out’ in tents on the grounds of the Embassy for up to three months.’
    • ‘Some evacuees were accommodated in 15 temporary shelters in schools and canteens, but many people still had to shelter in tents.’
    • ‘But within the clearing were dozens of tents and small shelters.’
    • ‘Some 500 homeless victims of the quake were being housed in relief tents and others were sheltering from the freezing cold winds in buses.’
    • ‘Television footage showed metal posts that held the tent still in the ground.’
    • ‘Before them lay row upon row of tents, pavilions, shelters, barracks and all other contrivable form of shelter.’
    • ‘Behind them hundreds of canvas tents stretch into the flat spaces of the desert.’
    • ‘Sheltered under a huge tent, more than 1 000 people converged to celebrate the heritage and rich history of Alexandra.’
    • ‘About two years ago I was running an extremely successful school for the blind out of a tent at a camp ground.’
    • ‘A boy about twelve years old knocked on the front supporting pole of the tent.’
    • ‘Once again bears had been at the depot, and the tent, poles, groundsheets, cooking pot, and primus were all missing.’
    • ‘Still, the wind snapped one of my tent's poles and it's oddly misshapen at first light.’
    • ‘Some of the families here stay inside the mosque, but the rest are camped out in tents that provide little shelter from the winter wind that blows across the university.’
    camp, military camp, bivouac, cantonment, barracks, base, station, post
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Medicine
      short for oxygen tent


  • 1[with object] Cover with or as if with a tent.

    ‘the garden had been completely tented over for supper’
    • ‘If, after thirty or so minutes, the cake is browning too quickly, you may need to tent it with foil.’
    • ‘If you can't leave, get fresh air by tenting your head with a blanket at a slightly open window or break it with a chair.’
    • ‘The ground has also been used to tent unskilled labourers laying fiber optic cables.’
    • ‘The alcohol fumes and oxygen/nitrous mixture would be able to dissipate if the drapes were tented.’
    • ‘They tented the body up but a lot of the blood, footprints in the blood and forensic evidence got washed away.’
    • ‘To avoid that problem, the building was tented and temporary heating provided so operation could continue.’
    • ‘A significant fact was that the house was tented with a fumigation tent.’
    1. 1.1 Arrange in a shape that looks like a tent.
      ‘Tim tented his fingers’
      • ‘Thomas laid down the pen and tented his fingers under his chin.’
      • ‘Then he rested his elbows on his desk, tenting his fingers.’
      • ‘The Matriarch calm sitting in her throne with her hands tented in front of her face.’
      • ‘As Mildred walks in, his long, slender fingers tent themselves in front of his face, a gesture that means he is focusing, deep in thought.’
      • ‘Garrett turned back to Kiv, tenting his fingers, tilting his head slightly to one side.’
    2. 1.2as adjective tented Composed of or provided with tents.
      ‘they were living in large tented camps’
      • ‘President Clinton is going to have a reception and luncheon in a tented area, they'll be happy to know, after this, for some of his friends.’
      • ‘The Army padre led prayers for the war dead, their families, for the armed forces and for politicians in their efforts to create peace, during services held in a concrete aircraft hangar and a tented cookhouse.’
      • ‘This is obvious from the enormous crowds that have descended on this tented village for the opening day.’
      • ‘The tented village is in place and we are just looking forward to play getting under way in some good weather.’
      • ‘There were three main areas, a large camp for the prisoners who were considered to be political dissidents; a small camp that was called a quarantine camp, and tented section for the prisoners arriving from Poland.’
      • ‘But you are unlikely to stumble upon either at the ‘Banjara Camps’, a tented resort that nestles on the banks of a river in the backdrop of some dramatic peaks.’
      • ‘A colourful tented camp spread under these sylvan giants and virtually every tent was occupied.’
      • ‘Cooks normally cater for soldiers in their individual regiments but, in northern Kuwait, chefs from different units have been pooled together in one big tented kitchen to feed the large number of British troops.’
      • ‘Its rugged charm has remained unspoilt by progress, while a bustling main street and its wide range of tented camps, hotels, and lodges have established it as a favourite holiday resort.’
      • ‘Besides this, the National Adventure Foundation is offering limited tented accommodation at the destination itself.’
      • ‘These were tented or prefabricated hut facilities and in theory mobile, although most tended to stay at the location in which they were first erected.’
      • ‘‘These tented restaurants tend to be more about the occasion than food - like eating strawberries at Wimbledon - but this is a very pleasant meal,’ he said.’
      • ‘The Jeep made it's way along the old road, and finally came to a small tented checkpoint where Brad could see soldiers had dug foxholes and set up barriers.’
      • ‘Roly, who runs The Little Print Shop in Swindon's tented market, reckons at least £1, 000 can be raised.’
      • ‘We found the floor in the tented operating theatre was not stable enough.’
      • ‘The shells landed on a tented mess hall, wreaking havoc among US troops, Iraqi national guards, and civilians.’
      • ‘The venue will be part of a small tented complex including toilets and kiosks for sweets and refreshments.’
      • ‘What Jim calls ‘a tented village’ will spring up, complete with heaters to keep the November chill at bay.’
      • ‘Kurichh has performed surgery on at least two inmates and will be among medical personnel manning a new tented field hospital.’
      • ‘‘I'm going to make all the kids in America jealous with all these pretty girls,’ he joked while posing for photographs in a tented classroom.’
  • 2[no object] (especially of traveling circus people) live in a tent.

    • ‘It is our first night of camping, and I am tenting with Dolly, Patricia, and Joanne.’
    • ‘These cannot be dismissed unless the university will allow me to tent and maintain a garden in the Quad.’
    • ‘But can they be the decisive factor when comparing summer tenting in the rocks of the Rockies to the rocks of Ontario's Canadian Shield?’
    • ‘I have been pestering Jayson, Leighton, Lorne, and Todd Peters all summer about how one goes about tenting and we finally made up our mind that we would get a tent.’


Middle English: from Old French tente, based on Latin tent- stretched from the verb tendere. The verb dates from the mid 16th century.