1 [tend]
verb (used without object)
to be disposed or inclined in action, operation, or effect to do something: The particles tend to unite.
to be disposed toward an idea, emotion, way of thinking, etc.: He tends to be overly optimistic. Her religious philosophy tends toward pantheism.
to lead or conduce, as to some result or resulting condition: measures tending to improved working conditions; Governments are tending toward democracy.
to be inclined to or have a tendency toward a particular quality, state, or degree: This wine tends toward the sweet side.
(of a journey, course, road, etc.) to lead or be directed in a particular direction (usually followed by to, toward, etc.): a path tending toward the beach.

1300–50; Middle English tenden < Middle French tendre < Latin tendere to stretch, extend, proceed

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2 [tend]
verb (used with object)
to attend to by work or services, care, etc.: to tend a fire.
to look after; watch over and care for; minister to or wait on with service: to tend the sick.
Nautical. to handle or attend to (a rope).
verb (used without object)
to attend by action, care, etc. (usually followed by to ).
Verb phrases
tend on/upon, Archaic. to attend or wait upon; minister to; serve: She tended on the sick and dying with infinite compassion.

1300–50; Middle English tenden, aphetic variant of attend

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
tend1 (tɛnd)
vb (when intr, usually foll by to or towards)
1.  (when tr, takes an infinitive) to have a general disposition (to do something); be inclined: children tend to prefer sweets to meat
2.  (intr) to have or be an influence (towards a specific result); be conducive: the party atmosphere tends to hilarity
3.  (intr) to go or move (in a particular direction): to tend to the south
[C14: from Old French tendre, from Latin tendere to stretch]

tend2 (tɛnd)
vb (when intr, often foll by to) (often foll by to)
1.  (tr) to care for: to tend wounded soldiers
2.  to attend (to): to tend to someone's needs
3.  (tr) to handle or control: to tend a fire
4.  informal chiefly (US), (Canadian) to pay attention
[C14: variant of attend]

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

"to incline, to move in a certain direction," c.1350, from O.Fr. tendre "stretch, hold forth, offer" (11c.), from L. tendere "to aim, stretch, extend" (see tenet).

"attend to," early 14c., aphetic of M.E. atenden (see attend).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
People who were overinvolved with their work tended to have trouble falling
  asleep and they tended to awaken earlier than average.
It found that, except in the social sciences, students with large loans tended
  to complete their doctoral degrees more quickly.
White athletes also tended to cluster, although not to the same degree as their
  minority counterparts.
The balalaika had a long history as the instrument of footloose musicians, who
  tended to be satirists when speaking to power.
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