Tightly stretched; taut. See Synonyms at stiff, tight. In a state of mental or nervous tension. Characterized by nervous tension or suspense. Linguistics Enunciated with taut muscles, as the sound (\u0113) in keen. To make or become tense. Any one of the inflected forms in the conjugation of a verb that indicates the time, such as past, present, or future, as well as the continuance or completion of the action or state. A set of tense forms indicating a particular time: the future tense.