"to make tense," 1670s, from tense (adj.); intransitive sense of "to become tense" (often tense up) is recorded from 1946. Related: Tensed; tensing.
"stretched tight," 1660s, from Latin tensus, past participle of tendere "to stretch, extend" (from PIE root *ten- "to stretch"). Figurative sense of "in a state of nervous tension" is first recorded 1821. Related: Tensely; tenseness.
"characterized by continuity, not affected by disconnection or interruption," 1640s, from French continueus or directly from Latin continuus "joining, connecting with something; following one after another," from continere (intransitive) "to be uninterrupted," literally "to hang together" (see contain). Related: Continuously; continuousness.
"form of a verb showing time of an action or state," early 14c., tens "time," also "tense of a verb" (late 14c.), from Old French tens "time, period of time, era; occasion, opportunity; weather" (11c., Modern French temps), from Latin tempus "a portion of time" (also source of Spanish tiempo, Italian tempo; see temporal).
1640s, "a continuous spread or extension, a connection of elements as intimate as that of the instants of time," from Latin continuum "a continuous thing," neuter of continuus "joining, connecting with something; following one after another," from continere (intransitive) "to be uninterrupted," literally "to hang together" (see contain). The plural is continua.
1550s, "continuous tract of land," from continent land (mid-15c.), translating Medieval Latin terra continens "continuous land," from Latin continens "continuous," present participle of continere "to hold together, enclose," from assimilated form of com "with, together" (see con-) + tenere "to hold" (from PIE root *ten- "to stretch").
As "one of the large land masses of the globe" from 1610s. As "the mainland of Europe" (from the point of view of Britain), from c. 1600.
"perpetual," 1610s, from Latin perpetuus "continuous, unbroken, uninterrupted" (see perpetual). A rare word, marked as obsolete in OED.