tension

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sexual tension

A tension, awkwardness, or underlying unease in the relationship of two people resulting from a strong mutual sexual attraction between them that has not been consummated. Just ask Chuck out already—I'm sick of being around you two and witnessing all your sexual tension. I can just feel the sexual tension every time Matt and I are together.
See also: sexual, tension

you could cut (something) with a knife

Something intangible or non-solid is incredibly thick, palpable, or poignant. The air was so humid as we stepped off the plane if felt like you could cut it with a knife. The entire dinner was so awkward you could cut the tension with a knife.
See also: could, cut, knife
References in periodicals archive ?
Print performance with the mesh-mounted stencil degrades as print cycles increase and tension decreases, while mechanically tensioned stencils show much better results.
When placed into the frame, the foil is tensioned to the same level each time and, because there is no mesh to contend with, there is no loss of tension--even in high-volume manufacturing environments.
Michael Dickson, Ted Happold and Ian Liddell had been working on tensioned fabric and cable technology and on the Mannheim gridshell while at Ove Arup & Partners.
So when the tension wheels are tensioned through the cables, the structure as a whole is tensioned.
For example, the use of post tensioned reinforcement to construct slabs results in thinner concrete sections and/or longer spans and thinner decks between supports, as in bridges.