on tenterhooks


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Related to on tenterhooks: Moot point, beck and call

on tenterhooks

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
See also: on, tenterhook

on 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.
See also: on, tenterhook

on tenterhooks

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]
See also: on, tenterhook

on tenterhooks

In a state of uneasiness, suspense, or anxiety.
See also: on, tenterhook