Reference > Brewer’s Dictionary > Tenterhooks.

 Ten’terden.Tenth Legion (The), 
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E. Cobham Brewer 1810–1897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
 
Tenterhooks.
 
I am on tenterhooks, or on tenterhooks of great expectation. My curiosity is on the full stretch, I am most curious or anxious to hear the issue. Cloth, after being woven, is stretched or “tentered” on hooks passed through the selvages. (Latin, tentus, stretched, hence “tent,” canvas stretched.)   1
        “He was not kept an instant on the tenterhooks of impatience longer than the appointed moment.”—Sir W. Scott: Redgauntlet, chap. xvi.
 


 Ten’terden.Tenth Legion (The), 

 
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