tenterhook(redirected from Tenterhooks)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Encyclopedia.
keep someone on tenterhooks
Fig. to keep someone in suspense. Don't keep me on tenterhooks! Tell me your news! We were all kept on tenterhooks waiting to find out what happened.
anxiously waiting for news about someone or something She was on tenterhooks until her son called and said he was not hurt.
Etymology: based on the literal meaning of tenterhook (a hook that holds cloth that is stretched to dry), suggesting that someone's emotions are tightly stretched like a piece of cloth held by tenterhooks
nervously waiting to find out what is going to happen She waited on tenterhooks for James to call. We were kept on tenterhooks all morning waiting for his decision.
In a state of painful suspense, as in We were on tenterhooks all through the game, hoping against hope that our team would win . This expression alludes to hooks that formerly were used to hold newly woven cloth that was being stretched on a frame. Their name has long survived this method of manufacture. [Mid-1700s]
In a state of uneasiness, suspense, or anxiety.