(to be) on tenterhooks

Idiom Definition

Idiom Definition - on tenterhooks

"(to be) on tenterhooks"

in a state of uneasiness, suspense, or anxiety


Related words and phrases:

Idiom Scenario 1

Idiom Definition - on tenterhooks

Two colleagues are talking ...

Colleague 1:  This is the biggest contract we have ever bid for. If we are successful, the company will make twenty million dollars and we will all get big bonuses. When are we going to know if we had the successful bid?

Colleague 2:  Bids close Friday and the winner is announced two weeks after that.

Colleague 1:  That means we are going to be on tenterhooks until then?

Colleague 2:  Get ready for some sleepless nights and having difficulty concentrating at work.

Idiom Scenario 2

Idiom Definition - on tenterhooks

Two friends are talking ...

Friend 1:  What's wrong with her? Ever time the phone rings she jumps out of her shoes.

Friend 2:  She has been on tenterhooks ever since her dog went missing. She keeps expecting that someone is calling about finding her dog.

Friend 1:  That is too bad. The anxiety she is experiencing must be terrible.

(to be) on tenterhooks - Usage:


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(to be) on tenterhooks - Gerund Form:

Being on tenterhooks, she jumped whenever she heard a sound.

(to be) on tenterhooks - Examples:

1)  The world, and especially Africa, was on tenterhooks for days as Gambian dictator Yahya Jammeh refused to relinquish power after losing an election.

2)  ... were on tenterhooks as they waited to see whether the Lester B. Pearson School Board would close their school.

3)  ... could be on tenterhooks on Tuesday, when the Supreme Court will rule on Brexit.

4)  ... than sixty days bears a long term impact and will keep one and all on tenterhooks to negotiate the brunt and access as well as gain economic fortunes without hassles.

5)  It's a risk I take and my family is on tenterhooks till I reach home safe.

6)  You are on tenterhooks because at any time they could stop and say we've found something.

7)  ... to bring forward its decision because he said it was unfair to keep staff on tenterhooks.

8)  Obviously her father is terrified as am I. We are increasingly on tenterhooks as to what could happen.

9)  The country is still pretty much on tenterhooks, with its economy at a 23-year low and having failed to create the necessary ...

10)  The people will wait on tenterhooks waiting for such sudden announcements any time in future.

11)  The shifting dynamic of their relationship keeps viewers on tenterhooks as it reveals the emotional bond that develops between them.

12)  ... it could be his last Christmas so everyone is on tenterhooks. We will really see that. It will be different ...

13)  Everyone was on tenterhooks over whether Mark Carney would cut UK interest rates.

14)  Now, viewers remain on tenterhooks amid speculation that she may be in the grip of more than one abductor.

15)  ... drama The Missing reaches its climax this week, with viewers across the country on tenterhooks

16)  ... up for grabs in the final minutes and with both sets of rival supporters on tenterhooks a further penalty opportunity fell to ...

17)  Moreover, the world's financial markets would be on tenterhooks as well as they rely heavily on America.

18)  Islanders will be on tenterhooks waiting to hear whether the petition has any impact on a fairer settlement.

19)  The volatile India-Pak relations mean that the people of the border villages live on tenterhooks.

20)  Everyone looks shell-shocked. Everyone looks like a zombie, and they're on tenterhooks