tenterhooks

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tenterhooks

Post by Archived Topic » Mon Feb 15, 1999 12:00 am

What is the origin of the phrase "on tenterhooks"?
Submitted by Barbara Kerlick (Riverside - U.S.A.)
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tenterhooks

Post by Jonathon Green » Thu Feb 18, 1999 8:00 am

A tenterhook is one of the hooks or bent nails set in a close row along the upper and lower bar of a tenter, by which the edges of the cloth are firmly held; a hooked or right-angled nail or spike; dial. a metal hook upon which anything is hung. Thus it can be used to describe anything on which something is stretched; thus 'on tenterhooks' is a figurative use, in which one's emotions are stretched.
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