Today I learned that the appropriate expression, referring to someone who is anxious about something, is to be "on tenterhooks". I thought it was tenderhooks, but I was wrong. Good to get it right.


A 'tenter' is something that stretches cloth, i.e. a 'tent', and a tenterhook is a nail which attaches the cloth to the frame to achieve that stretch.

@lightweight I'm glad I didn't have to wait long between your first post there and the follow up ... because ... well, you know!

@yojimbo indeed - I gather your stress receptors were feeling a bit tender.

@lightweight Well no, because I never got the phrase wrong; but OTOH, I never knew what it was derived from either.

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