Word: tenacious

Pronunciation: tə-NAY-shəs

Part of Speech: adjective

Definition: not readily relinquishing a position, principle, or course of action; determined

Source: Oxford Dictionaries


I decided to post a slightly more common word for today’s Word of the Week. Unlike many previous entries in this segment, “tenacious” is a word that I’m quite accustomed to hearing, reading and even writing into my own stories. Maybe it has something to do with the type of characters I like to read about. After all, who doesn’t like a hero who never gives up, right?

A “tenacious” person is someone who doesn’t willingly back down on a position, principle or course of action. The word arose in the early 17th century from the Latin adjective tenax, meaning “stubborn” or “steadfast”. This adjective, in turn, stems from the verb tenere “to hold”.

Though I featured my favorite definition in this vocabulary post, “tenacious” has a couple of alternative meanings. Depending on context, the word can also mean “keeping a firm hold of something” (as in “a tenacious grip”), or “persisting in existence” (as in “a tenacious legend”). I prefer to use the definition that applies to characters, but it works equally well for ideas, so use it however you think works best for your writing. What matters is that you’re “tenacious” about creating the highest quality stories possible!

What are your thoughts on this word? Any suggestions for future “Word of the Week” featured words?

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