Just what could this weekвЂ™s subject be? Are you on tenterhooks? What on earth are tenterhooks?
First, why don’t we get the one thing right: you’re on TENTERhooks, maybe not TENDERhooks.
Where We Have The Word ‘Tenterhooks’
To determine exactly what a tenterhook is, we need to realize that way back when manufacturers kept freshly milled woolen fabric from shrinking on a wooden frame called a tenter while it dried by stretching it. It comes down through the Latin term tentus, this means вЂњto stretch.вЂќ
The phrase ‘tenterhooks’ arises from the steel hooks that manufacturers used to stretch wool on a tenter whilst it dried.
The 1845 Encyclopaedia Metropolitana or Universal Dictionary of real information, amount 1, defines a tenter as вЂњa quantity of straight articles fixed to your ground, bbpeoplemeet dating with a continuous horizontal fixed train in the top as long as the little bit of fabric; there are other horizontal rails that are fitted between your upright articles вЂ¦ both the top of and reduced rails are driven packed with tenterhooks; on these the listings associated with fabric are fastened, after which it the low or movable train is pushed downwards to your complete breadth associated with the fabric, after which guaranteed in its spot by the pins. The pieces are left to dry. in this stateвЂќ
Therefore a tenterhook is a steel hook that holds the fabric set up from the tenter, therefore the structures had been put down in areas and so the wool could dry.
The Saturday Magazine, amount 12 from 1838 defines the procedure similar to this:
вЂњWhen the fabric first comes from the weaver, it really is in an exceedingly rough state that is unsightly and contains a level of oil вЂ¦ The second operation is вЂscouring,вЂ™ which will be done within the fulling-mill, the fabric being wet in an alkaline ley and beaten by equipment; it’s then well rinced with clear water and hung in the tenter-frames to dry.вЂќ
Maps Applied to demonstrate Tenter-Fields
Relating to Michael Quinion associated with Around The Globe Words web site, tenters had been therefore many and typical that old maps of England often called down areas that are certain tenter-fields.
In this literal feeling, the reference that is earliest within the Oxford English Dictionary is from 1480, plus the earliest complete expression i could read without butchering it really is from 1518: Her fingernails since razor-sharp as tenterhooks.
How ‘Tenterhooks’ Got Its Current Meaning
The meaning that is figurative to stem through the indisputable fact that the drying fabric has been strained and extended by the tenterhooks, and also by analogy, a person who is strained or extended to wits’ end is on tenterhooks such as the fabric. The very first guide for this figurative feeling is more than a couple of hundred years later on in 1748: we left him upon the tenterhooks of impatient doubt.
The OED claims it really is now an uncommon or saying that is obscure but individuals additionally utilized to state they had been вЂњon tentersвЂќ or вЂњon the tenterвЂќ to suggest the same as вЂњon tenterhooks.вЂќ
Therefore keep in mind, you arenвЂ™t on tenderhooks. YouвЂ™re on tenterhooks.
In regards to the Author
Mignon Fogarty could be the creator of Quick and Dirty recommendations plus the composer of seven books on language, like the nyc instances bestseller “Grammar woman’s fast and Dirty methods for Better Writing.” She actually is an inductee into the Podcasting Hall of Fame, while the show is a winner that is five-time of Education Podcast into the Podcast Awards. She’s showed up as a guest specialist regarding the Oprah Winfrey Show as well as the Show today. Her popular LinkedIn training courses assist people compose more straightforward to communicate better.