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Irregularly formed from Latin tenuis (thin, slight) +‎ -ous. Compare tenuious.


  • IPA(key): /ˈtɛn.ju.əs/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɛnjuəs


tenuous (comparative more tenuous, superlative most tenuous)

  1. Thin in substance or consistency.
    Synonyms: delicate, gossamer; see also Thesaurus:fragile
    The aether was thought to be of tenuous strands.
    Far from being amicable, the numbers seemed to turn their backs on each other, and I couldn't find a pair with even the most tenuous connection.
  2. Insubstantial.
    Synonyms: ethereal; see also Thesaurus:insubstantial
    His argument was not convincing in the debate, considering how tenuous it was.
    • July 18 2012, Scott Tobias, AV Club The Dark Knight Rises[1]
      Picking up eight years after The Dark Knight left off, the film finds Gotham enjoying a tenuous peace based on Harvey Dent’s moral ideals rather than the ugly truth of his demise.

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