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Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English sinewe, synow, sinue, from Old English sinu, synu, senu, seono, seonu (sinew, nerve, tendon), from Proto-Germanic *sinwō, *senawō (sinew), from Proto-Indo-European *snḗh₁wr̥ (sinew, tendon), from Proto-Indo-European *(s)neh₁- (to twist (threads), spin, weave). Cognate with Scots senon, sinnon, sinnow (sinew), Saterland Frisian Siene (sinew), West Frisian senuw, sine (nerve, sinew), Dutch zenuw (nerve, sinew), German Sehne (tendon, cord, sinew), Swedish sena (sinew), Icelandic sin (tendon), Latin nervus (sinew, nerve, tendon), Ancient Greek νεῦρον (neûron, tendon, cord, nerve), Avestan 𐬯𐬥𐬁𐬎𐬎𐬀𐬭 (snāuuar, tendon, sinew), Sanskrit स्नावन् (snāván, tendon, muscle, sinew), Tocharian B ṣñor.



sinew (plural sinews)

  1. (anatomy) A cord or tendon of the body.
  2. (obsolete) A nerve.
  3. (figuratively) Muscle; nerve; nervous energy; vigor; vigorous strength; muscular power.
  4. A string or chord, as of a musical instrument.
  5. (figuratively) That which gives strength or in which strength consists; a supporting member or factor; mainstay; source of strength (often plural).
    • Shakespeare
      The portion and sinew of her fortune, her marriage dowry.
    • Sir Walter Raleigh
      The bodies of men, munition, and money, may justly be called the sinews of war.

Derived terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.


sinew (third-person singular simple present sinews, present participle sinewing, simple past and past participle sinewed)

  1. To knit together, or make strong with, or as if with, sinews.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Shakespeare to this entry?)
    • Goldsmith
      Wretches, now stuck up for long tortures [] might, if properly treated, serve to sinew the state in time of danger.