General English


  • noun a small shelter put over and around someone’s bed so that gas or vapour can be passed inside


  • noun a portable shelter made of waterproof fabric, which is supported by poles


  • noun a cone-shaped expandable plug of soft material such as gauze used to keep a wound or orifice open

Origin & History of “tent”

A tent is etymologically something that is ‘stretched’ – over a frame to provide shelter. The word comes via Old French tente from vulgar Latin *tenta, a noun derived from the past participial stem of Latin tendere ‘stretch’ (source of English tend, tendency, etc). It was supposedly inspired by the expression pelles tendere, literally ‘stretch skins’, that is, ‘stretch animal hides over a framework to make a tent’, which was used metaphorically for ‘set up a camp’.