1 [ten-der]
adjective, tenderer, tenderest.
soft or delicate in substance; not hard or tough: a tender steak.
weak or delicate in constitution; not strong or hardy.
(of plants) unable to withstand freezing temperatures.
young or immature: children of tender age.
delicate or soft in quality: tender blue.
delicate, soft, or gentle: the tender touch of her hand.
easily moved to sympathy or compassion; kind: a tender heart.
affectionate or loving; sentimental or amatory: a tender glance.
considerate or careful; chary or reluctant (usually followed by of ).
acutely or painfully sensitive: a tender bruise.
easily distressed; readily made uneasy: a tender conscience.
yielding readily to force or pressure; easily broken; fragile.
of a delicate or ticklish nature; requiring careful or tactful handling: a tender subject.
Nautical, crank2 ( def 1 ).
verb (used with object)
to make tender.
Archaic. to regard or treat tenderly.

1175–1225; Middle English, variant of tendre < Old French < Latin tenerum, accusative of tener tender

tenderly, adverb
tenderness, noun
self-tenderness, noun
untenderly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To tenderness
World English Dictionary
tender1 (ˈtɛndə)
adj (foll by of)
1.  easily broken, cut, or crushed; soft; not tough: a tender steak
2.  easily damaged; vulnerable or sensitive: a tender youth; at a tender age
3.  having or expressing warm and affectionate feelings: a tender smile
4.  kind, merciful, or sympathetic: a tender heart
5.  arousing warm feelings; touching: a tender memory
6.  gentle and delicate: a tender breeze
7.  requiring care in handling; ticklish: a tender question
8.  painful or sore: a tender wound
9.  sensitive to moral or spiritual feelings: a tender conscience
10.  careful or protective: tender of one's emotions
11.  Compare stiff (of a sailing vessel) easily keeled over by a wind; crank
12.  rare (tr)
 a.  to make tender
 b.  to treat tenderly
[C13: from Old French tendre, from Latin tener delicate]

tender2 (ˈtɛndə)
vb (foll by for)
1.  (tr) to give, present, or offer: to tender one's resignation; tender a bid
2.  to make a formal offer or estimate for (a job or contract)
3.  (tr) law to offer (money or goods) in settlement of a debt or claim
4.  the act or an instance of tendering; offer
5.  commerce a formal offer to supply specified goods or services at a stated cost or rate
6.  something, esp money, used as an official medium of payment: legal tender
[C16: from Anglo-French tendre, from Latin tendere to extend; see tend1]

tender3 (ˈtɛndə)
1.  a small boat, such as a dinghy, towed or carried by a yacht or ship
2.  a vehicle drawn behind a steam locomotive to carry the fuel and water
3.  an ancillary vehicle used to carry supplies, spare parts, etc, for a mobile operation, such as an outside broadcast
4.  a person who tends
[C15: variant of attender]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Word Origin & History

"soft, easily injured," early 13c., from O.Fr. tendre "soft, delicate, tender" (11c.), from L. tenerem (nom. tener) "soft, delicate, of tender age," from PIE *ten- "stretch" (see tenet). Meaning "kind, affectionate, loving" first recorded c.1300. Meaning "having the delicacy
of youth, immature" is attested from early 14c. Tender-hearted first recorded 1530s. The verb tenderize is attested from 1733; specifically of food, recorded by 1935, originally Amer.Eng.; tenderizer is recorded from 1958.

"to offer formally," 1542, from M.Fr. tendre "to offer, hold forth" (11c.), from L. tendere "to stretch, extend" (see tenet). The retention of the ending of the M.Fr. infinitive is unusual. The noun meaning "formal offer" is from 1542; specific sense of "money that may be
legally offered as payment" is from 1740.

"person who tends another," c.1470, probably an agent noun formed from M.E. tenden "attend to" (see tend (2)); later extended to locomotive engineers (1825) and barmen (1883). The meaning "small boat used to attend larger ones" first recorded 1675.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

tender ten·der (těn'dər)
adj. ten·der·er, ten·der·est

  1. Easily crushed or bruised; fragile.

  2. Easily hurt; sensitive.

  3. Painful; sore.

tenderness ten·der·ness (těn'dər-nĭs)
The condition of being tender or sore to the touch.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source
Example sentences
The skin crisps to crunchy cracklings, and the meat melts with juicy tenderness.
Others find virtue in the tenderness and rich browning that a little more sugar
  gives the bread.
The honey interacts with the yeast, and both give the crumb a tenderness it
  lacks using the basic recipe.
The tenderness around an injury is caused in part by the response of these same
  nerves to chemicals released in the skin.
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature