Primal Word of the Day: Ten-, to Stretch
There is an ancient word-root, ten, meaning to stretch. It gives us the words tantra, attention, tender, tendon, entertain, and tone. Link to Bartleby.com's Indo-European roots.
Attention can be tender, and there are many tones to attention: wonder, delight, scrutiny, investigation, adoration, boredom, indifference.
Primal words such as ten give rise to entire families of meaning, with many shadings and variations on stretching or extending or reaching out. For example, if you think of reaching out with your hand to grab something, you can do so carefully, with great tenderness, or aggressively, or anywhere inbetween.
Meditation Word of the Day: Attention
Attention is one of the great mysteries. The fact that we can pay attention, that there are so many different tones of attention, and that we can select what to pay attention to – this is all marvelous.
– Concentration of the mental powers upon an object; a close or careful observing or listening.
– A military posture, with the body erect, eyes to the front, arms at the sides, and heels together.
ETYMOLOGY: Middle English attencioun, from Latin attenti, attentin-, from attentus, past participle of attendere, to heed. See attend.
So attention is a-tend, to tend to.
To have the care of; watch over; look after: tend a child. 2. To manage the activities and transactions of; run: tend bar; tend a store in the owner's absence.
Attention comes from the Indo- European root ten- (to stretch) that is also the source of tender, contend, extend, intend, lieutenant, maintain, sustain.
Today's word in the Visual Thesaurus
Attention comes from the root ten- that also gives us tender.
So tender in all its meanings is relevant to attention. And note that we say we pay attention. Attention is itself something we give or pay.
Look at how complex is the network of words related to tender!
NOUN: 1a. The act or process of stretching something tight. b. The condition of so being stretched; tautness. 2a. A force tending to stretch or elongate something. b. A measure of such a force: a tension on the cable of 50 pounds. 3a. Mental, emotional, or nervous strain: working under great tension to make a deadline. b. Barely controlled hostility or a strained relationship between people or groups: the dangerous tension between opposing military powers. 4. A balanced relation between strongly opposing elements: “the continuing, and essential, tension between two of the three branches of government, judicial and legislative” (Haynes Johnson). 5. The interplay of conflicting elements in a piece of literature, especially a poem. 6. A device for regulating tautness, especially a device that controls the tautness of thread on a sewing machine or loom. 7. Electricity Voltage or potential; electromotive force.
TRANSITIVE VERB: Inflected forms: ten·sioned, ten·sion·ing, ten·sions
To subject to tension; tighten.
ETYMOLOGY: Latin tnsi, tnsin-, a stretching out, from tnsus, past participle of tendere, to stretch. See tense1.