A deep stretch

Extend your hands upward, and hang onto your hats! This one’s intense, and it stretches way down the page.

Latin tendere is “to stretch” (of course: “extend”).

There are a ZILLION more words with tens-, tent-, tend-, and let’s all enjoy reely minds at just a few of the many with stretchy ten- parts.











Note that this is tender like “tender one’s resignation,” or  “wait upon,” (“attend”), but not necessarily tenderly (!!!), because the love-me-tender “tender” actually comes to us a different way: via Old French tendre (which if you go back far enough does come from the same Indo-European place, but through Latin tener [delicate] not Latin tendere [to stretch]). So what’s crazy then is that “tendril” comes from the “delicate/loving” one, because that one is also “soft/sensitive/weak,” so a tendril is tender because it’s sensitive, not because it stretches out to coil around something. CRAZY. Look how cute tendrils are!


Also not included in this stretchy group: “content” (noun, verb, or adj), which actually comes instead from tenere, “to hold,” whence also many other -tains: retain, detain, contain (also, let’s all just love that “content” as an adjective is connected to “container;” as Pittman McGehee says/quotes, we all want a womb with a view). Which (-tains) is also why “detente” above is stretchy, but “detention” isn’t! But: “contend” is:


And hidden in the contending-as-coping section above is this from Thomas Hardy: “Though Mrs. Smith and Stephen were always contending, they were never at enmity;” here’s to that!

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