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[tend] /tɛnd/
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.
Origin of tend1
1300-50; Middle English tenden < Middle French tendre < Latin tendere to stretch, extend, proceed Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for tend toward
Historical Examples
  • Make a list of those that tend toward worse conditions for the mass of men.

    The Principles of Economics Frank A. Fetter
  • One and all of these, from first to last, tend toward Devolution.

  • August 22, 1688, it was thought I was about coming out of prison, and everything seemed to tend toward it.

    The Autobiography of Madame Guyon Jeanne Marie Bouvier de La Motte Guyon
  • This will tend toward sureness and give eyes to your fingers, so to speak.

    Piano Playing Josef Hofmann
  • A night's imprisonment did not tend toward making the suspect any more communicative.

    The Crime of the Century Henry M. Hunt
  • And not so unwise a choice, if your dreams only tend toward results.

    Bob Hampton of Placer Randall Parrish
  • All his mental processes, as we have seen, tend toward hypochondria, unless his sense of truth can be called into play.

  • Possibly these two species are competitive and tend toward mutual exclusion.

    Birds from North Borneo Max C. Thompson
  • All exercise should tend toward using all of the muscles of the body.

  • The psychological forces which tend toward individualism have been already stated to be the self-assertive instincts and impulses.

    Ethics John Dewey and James Hayden Tufts
British Dictionary definitions for tend toward


verb when intr, usually foll by to or towards
(when transitive, takes an infinitive) to have a general disposition (to do something); be inclined: children tend to prefer sweets to meat
(intransitive) to have or be an influence (towards a specific result); be conducive: the party atmosphere tends to hilarity
(intransitive) to go or move (in a particular direction): to tend to the south
Word Origin
C14: from Old French tendre, from Latin tendere to stretch


(transitive) to care for: to tend wounded soldiers
when intr, often foll by to. to attend (to): to tend to someone's needs
(transitive) to handle or control: to tend a fire
(informal, mainly US & Canadian) (intransitive) often foll by to. to pay attention
Word Origin
C14: variant of attend
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for tend toward



"to incline, to move in a certain direction," mid-14c., from Old French tendre "stretch, hold forth, offer" (11c.), from Latin tendere "to aim, stretch, extend" (see tenet).

"attend to," early 14c., a shortening of Middle English atenden (see attend).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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