Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A tendon.
  • n. Vigorous strength; muscular power.
  • n. The source or mainstay of vitality and strength. Often used in the plural: "Good company and good discourse are the very sinews of virtue” ( Izaak Walton).
  • transitive v. To strengthen with or as if with sinews.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A cord or tendon of the body.
  • n. A nerve.
  • n. Muscle; nerve; nervous energy; vigor; vigorous strength; muscular power.
  • n. A string or chord, as of a musical instrument.
  • n. That which gives strength or in which strength consists; a supporting member or factor; mainstay; source of acquiring strength (often plural).
  • v. To knit together, or make strong with, or as if with, sinews.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A tendon or tendonous tissue. See Tendon.
  • n. Muscle; nerve.
  • n. Fig.: That which supplies strength or power.
  • transitive v. To knit together, or make strong with, or as with, sinews.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To furnish with sinews; strengthen as by sinews; make robust; harden; steel.
  • To serve as sinews of; be the support or mainstay of.
  • To knit or bind strongly; join firmly.
  • n. A cord or tendon of the body. See tendon.
  • n. A nerve. Compare aponeurosis.
  • n. Hence Figuratively, muscle; nerve; nervous energy; strength.
  • n. A string or chord, as of a musical instrument.
  • n. That which gives strength or in which strength consists; a supporting member or factor; a mainstay.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a cord or band of inelastic tissue connecting a muscle with its bony attachment
  • n. possessing muscular strength

Etymologies

Middle English sinewe, from Old English sinewe, oblique form of seonu, sinu.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English sinewe, synow, sinue, from Old English sinu, synu, senu, seono, seonu ("sinew, nerve, tendon"), from Proto-Germanic *sinwō, *senawō (“sinew”), from Proto-Indo-European *senew-, *snēw- (“tendon”), from Proto-Indo-European *sey- (“to bind, knit, tie together, tie to, connect”). Cognate with Scots senon, sinnon, sinnow ("sinew"), Saterland Frisian Siene ("sinew"), West Frisian senuw, sine ("nerve, sinew"), Dutch zenuw ("nerve, sinew"), German Sehne ("tendon, cord, sinew"), Swedish sena ("sinew"), Icelandic sin ("tendon"), Latin nervus ("sinew, nerve, tendon"), Ancient Greek νεῦρον (neũron, "tendon, cord, nerve"), Avestan  (snāvar-, "tendon, sinew"), Sanskrit  (snāvan-, snāván-, "tendon, muscle, sinew"), Tocharian B ṣñor. (Wiktionary)

Examples

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  • "I see in him outrageous strength, with an inscrutable malice sinewing it."

    - Melville, Moby-Dick, ch. 36

    July 25, 2008