TENSE adj. Of programs, very clever and efficient. A tense piece of code often got that way because it was highly bummed, but sometimes it was just based on a great idea. A comment in a clever display routine by Mike Kazar: "This routine is so tense it will bring tears to your eyes. Much thanks to Craig Everhart and James Gosling for inspiring this hack attack." A tense programmer is one who produces tense code.