tenet » tenant

Classification: English

Spotted in the wild:

  • Born in 1844, Nietzsche was influenced by Darwin and philosophers such as Schopenhauer. His moral theory mirrored more that of Hume’s in sticking to the tenants of naturalism than it resembled deontological theories such as Kant’s. (philosophytalk.org)
  • The basic tenants of Islam are few but each part forms a whole way of life, a way of thinking, and a way of dealing with life’s problems. (islamicgarden.com)
  • Many Christian scholars have explored the etymology of the word inspiration. They are especially interested in the word because of the relationship to one of the major tenants of Christianity that says the bible is created by divine inspiration. (humanityquest.com)
  • I created this by thinking of the base tenants of Satanism as a giant cog of life, bringing the mechanics of Satanism to life. (churchofsatan.com)
  • Of the false tenants of mercantilism that remain today, the most pernicious is the idea that imports reduce domestic employment. (link)

Analyzed or reported by:

See also tenet»tent.

Both _tenet_ and _tenant_ go back to the Latin verb _tenere_, “hold”, together with _tenement_, _tenacity_, _tenure_, _tenable_, _tenor_, and a number of verbs ending in _-tain_. A tenet, from the third person singular present tense verb form (i.e. he/she/it holds) is something held to be true, while a tenant is literally someone who holds something (a lease on a piece of land or a dwelling, in the narrowed down current sense).

Addendum, 2005/06/17: On alt.usage.english, Pat Durkin reports a substitution in the opposite direction, in an e-mail he received regarding his lodgings:

* “I will call the office about the dumpster b/c all the tenets are putting garbage in the recycle bin.”

As the more learned term of the two is _tenet_, though, and _tenant_ a word from everyday life, I would expect _tenant»tenet_ to be the more typical eggcorn.

| link | entered by Chris Waigl, 2005/04/04 |


  1. 1

    Commentary by ringbark , 2006/10/19 at 2:42 pm

    Granted, most stories use fantastic plot elements to bring about the circumstances which they describe.. however, most of those things don’t run counter to a biological tenant that has helped define every aspect of human society for thousands of years.


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