Someone or something tenacious holds on (or continues) in a firm, strong way.
tin AY shus
Part of speech:
(Adjectives are describing words, like “large” or “late.”
They can be used in two ways:
1. Right before a noun, as in “a tenacious hope.”
2. After a linking verb, as in "The hope was tenacious.”)
How to use it:
Talk about tenacious people and personalities. (Your tenacious friends hold on tight to ideas or goals, and they keep on persisting firmly.)
Often you'll talk about someone's tenacious grip, grasp, hold, or adherence: their tenacious grip on the roller coaster safety bar, our tenacious grasp of the state capitals which were beaten into us as kids, his tenacious hold on those outdated ideas, her tenacious adherence to the rules.
You can also talk about tenacious things in general: a tenacious memory that holds onto everything, a tenacious cough that won't go away, a tenacious plant that keeps thriving despite a harsh environment, a tenacious idea that's grabbed hold tight onto your mind, etc.
Sometimes you might say that someone is tenacious of something: the plant is tenacious of life, these teenagers are tenacious of their favorite slang words and phrases, etc. Although this usage is listed in dictionaries, I honestly don't see it very often.
Your great-grandmother has a tenacious memory and can still tell you in vivid detail about how she met Great-Granddad.
When it came to finding a new job in a town where zero opportunities seemed to exist, Tim was still somehow tenacious.
Look away from the screen to explain the definition in your own words. You’ll know you understand what "tenacious" means when you can explain it without saying "holding tight" or "won't let go."
Think of an idea you will always believe or a habit that you will always have, and fill in the blanks: "Nothing can shake my tenacious (adherence to / habit of) _____."
Example: "Ever since his days in Boy Scout camps, nothing can shake his tenacious habit of checking his shoes for spiders."
Spend at least 20 seconds occupying your mind with the game and quote below. Then try the review questions. Don’t go straight to the review now—let your working memory empty out first.
Playing With Words:
This month, we're playing with some fascinating thematic word lists assembled by Stephen Chrisomalis, an English language expert over at The Phrontistery who kindly gave permission for me to use his work. (Check out his site; you will definitely enjoy it!)
Try a question each day, and see the right answers here the following day--or if you can't wait, follow the link to Stephen's list to dig out the answers yourself. Have fun!
As Stephen notes, there’s one common Greek word that means “causation, formation, origination, production, growth, development or generation.” What is it? It’s found in these words, along with many, many others:
-Crystallo_______ is the production of crystals. -Neuro_______ is the production or generation of nerves. -Petro_______ is the formation or development of rocks.
Genesis. (Those words were crystallogenesis, neurogenesis, & petrogenesis.)
Try this one today:
The Greeks gave us an immense vocabulary for talking about rhetorical devices: ways to manipulate or stylize our speech and writing. Stephen has put together a hefty list of them! You remember similes and hyperbole from English class, right? But what about these more obscure devices? Use your knowledge of word roots to match each device to its meaning:
- The use or occurrence of similar word endings is called _____.
- Asking forgiveness in advance for frank or bold speech is called _____.
- The turning of your opponent’s own argument against them is called _____.
- A rhetorical discussion in the form of an imaginary dialogue is called _____.
Can't wait until tomorrow for the right answers? Check out Stephen's full list and discussion at the Phrontistery.
A Point Well Made:
Friedrich Nietzsche: “What we do in dreams we also do when we are awake: we invent and fabricate the person with whom we associate — and immediately forget we have done so.”
1. The opposite of TENACIOUS is
2. In Scrabble, he's _____ to the point of tenacity and will take forever to decide what to play.
Answers are below.
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Make Your Point is crafted with love and brought to you each day for free by Mrs. Liesl Johnson, M.Ed., a word lover, learning enthusiast, and private tutor of reading and writing in the verdant little town of Hilo, Hawaii. For writing tips, online learning, essay guidance, and more, please visit www.HiloTutor.com.
Disclaimer: Word meanings presented here are expressed in plain language and are limited to common, useful applications only. Readers interested in authoritative and multiple definitions of words are encouraged to check a dictionary. Likewise, word meanings, usage, and pronunciations are limited to American English; these elements may vary across world Englishes.
Compare today's word, "tenacious" (meaning "holding on tight") to our previous word, "tenable" (meaning "defensible: able to be held onto tightly.") They share the Latin tenere, meaning "to hold, to keep."