Tenure vs tenor

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Tenure and tenor are two words that are close in spelling and pronunciation and are often confused. We will examine the definitions of the words tenure and tenor, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences.

Tenure may mean the right someone has to live in a building or on a piece of land for a particular period of time. Tenure also means the period of time that someone holds a position or an office, or a position of employment that is guaranteed. Tenure is often used to mean the status of being permanently employed as a professor or teacher in a school or university. When such a person holds tenure, he is guaranteed his post unless he commits a very grave offense, usually some sort of serious crime. This guaranteed employment allows professors and teachers a certain amount of academic freedom. Tenure is used as a noun or a verb, related words are tenures, tenured, tenuring. The word tenure is derived from the Old French word tenir, meaning to hold.

Tenor is most often used to mean a singing voice which is the highest of the adult male range. Tenor is also applied to instruments to mean the second or lowest pitch of the instruments in the family. Tenor may also mean the content of something, the character or general nature of something. The word tenor is derived from the Old French word tenor, which means sense or substance.


Now that it’s all said and done, Anthony’s tenure with the Knicks is just another speed bump in the franchise’s history. (The New York Post)

Faculty members’ concerns over job protection and academic freedom are slowing down the University of Arkansas System’s proposal to change its tenure policy. (U.S. News & World Report)

In 2016, classical crossover tenor Mark Masri celebrated the summer under the stars at the SCERA Center for the Arts with Broadway’s Laura Osnes and the Utah Valley Symphony. (The Daily Herald)

The editorial was unnecessarily nasty and did nothing to raise the tenor of the discourse surrounding our divisive president. (The Enid News & Eagle)