tenet "principle," properly "a thing held (to be true)," early 15c., from L. tenet "he holds," third person singular present indicative of tenere "to hold, to keep, to maintain" from PIE root *ten- "to stretch" (Cf. Skt. tantram "loom," tanoti "stretches, lasts;" Pers. tar "string;" Lith. tankus "compact," i.e. "tightened;" Gk. teinein "to stretch," tasis "a stretching, tension," tenos "sinew," tetanos "stiff, rigid," tonos "string," hence "sound, pitch;" L. tendere "to stretch," tenuis "thin, rare, fine;" O.C.S. tento "cord;" O.E. thynne "thin"). Connection notion between "stretch" and "hold" is "to cause to maintain." The modern sense is probably because tenet was used in M.L. to introduce a statement of doctrine.

Etymology dictionary. 2014.

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