on tenterhooks, to be

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on tenterhooks, to be

In a state of painful suspense. The frame on which newly woven cloth was stretched was called a tenter and the hooks used to hold the cloth in place thus were tenterhooks. Tobias Smollett appears to have been the first to use the term metaphorically: “I left him upon the tenterhooks of impatient uncertainty” (The Adventures of Roderick Random, 1748). Clothmaking has changed, and “tenterhook” today survives only in the cliché.
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References in periodicals archive ?
You'll be on tenterhooks until tomorrow night's episode when we find out who that is.
She revealed: "The whole family is on baby alert, we will just be on tenterhooks. I'm an auntie veteran - my brother has four kids but it is still so exciting." Good luck Jodes!