Definition of tenuous in US English:



  • 1Very weak or slight.

    ‘the tenuous link between interest rates and investment’
    • ‘Every night, it seems we read of yet another instance of a local trader virtually forced out of business by the hike in car park charges or, however tenuous the link, the introduction of car parking charges during the evening.’
    • ‘But the fact that his confirmation was put on thin ice by such tenuous allegations concerns many activists.’
    • ‘W.B. Yeats connection with the house is tenuous indeed and hangs by the slender thread of his infatuation with Con and Eva.’
    • ‘The NY Times is mentioning a tenuous New York link but most cases have originated in Asia.’
    • ‘The free-association part of my brain works overtime and I can base a wisecrack on the most tenuous of links between this and that.’
    • ‘As the debate has gone on, the arguments have got thinner and thinner and more tenuous from the Opposition.’
    • ‘Today, I shall mostly be counting minutes, and considering the tenuous link between the words ‘delay’ and ‘deadline.’’
    • ‘Five of the six miniatures represent couples, three of them in nocturnal landscapes, and their relationship to the text remains distinctly tenuous.’
    • ‘Yes I know the links to Enron are tenuous at best, but since when has that stopped various newspapers.’
    • ‘If I can just figure out some tenuous contextual link…’
    • ‘These comments provide a glimpse into the thinking of a layer of extremely wealthy Hollywood liberals or erstwhile liberals, whose commitment to democratic rights is increasingly tenuous.’
    • ‘But the central idea - that of the unexciting English town staking its tenuous claim to historical distinction - is an intriguing one.’
    • ‘‘But there is a link - however tenuous - between the clubs and the hooligans, whether the clubs like it or not,’ he said.’
    • ‘Despite the tenuous nature of these links, professionals are obliged to advise and even persuade parents to follow the campaign's advice.’
    slight, insubstantial, flimsy, negligible, weak, fragile, shaky, sketchy, doubtful, dubious, questionable, suspect
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    1. 1.1 Very slender or fine; insubstantial.
      ‘a tenuous cloud’
      • ‘The tension is a purely musical one, a question of being right there with the musicians as they navigate this tenuous territory of delicate interaction.’
      • ‘This is similar to a tenuous dust cloud on Earth, visible only from the light it scatters or absorbs.’
      • ‘It would seem to be towards the edge of the power, if at all, and if it were within it, the particular thing might be regarded as insubstantial, tenuous or distant.’
      • ‘Astronomical observations suggest that the Sun is presently moving through a warm, tenuous interstellar cloud made of dust and gas, one of several that make up our local galactic neighbourhood.’
      fine, thin, slender, attenuated, delicate, gossamer, fragile
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Late 16th century: formed irregularly from Latin tenuis ‘thin’ + -ous.