Student or Learner
Would you be kind enough to give me your considered opinion concerning the interpretation of the expression in bold in the following sentences?
Stephanie said nothing at all, and kept us on tenterhooks for half one hour. (P. H. Jonson, “An Error of Judgment”)
Alf blamed vicissitudes of the industry ad the market. They kept him on tenterhooks all the time. (K. S. Pritchard, “The Roaring Nineties”)
keep somebody on tenterhooks = keep someone in suspense
Incidentally when I was at primary school I saw a film in which it was claimed that the hooks that they hang herrng on to turn them into kippers are called 'tenterhooks'. I don't know if this is true, but I'm sure the Internet could tell you...