- a raw, inexperienced person; novice.
- a newcomer to the ranching and mining regions of the western U.S., unused to hardships.
- one in the lowest rank of the Boy Scouts of America or Girl Scouts of America.
Origin of tenderfoot
Examples from the Web for tenderfoot
Well,” he said at last, “I might as well say it––I took you for a tenderfoot.Hidden Water
“Oh, well, allowances should be made for a tenderfoot,” she bantered.
“You need not worry, Mr. Tenderfoot,” the girl flashed back at him.
The tenderfoot staked his claim on the chance of selling it again.They of the High Trails
To be a tenderfoot means to occupy the lowest grade in scouting.Boy Scouts Handbook
Boy Scouts of America
- a newcomer, esp to the mines or ranches of the southwestern US
- (formerly) a beginner in the Scouts or Guides
Word Origin and History for tenderfoot
1866, American English, originally of newcomers to ranching or mining districts, from tender (adj.) + foot (n.). The U.S. equivalent of what in Great Britain was generally called a greenhand. As a level in Boy Scouting, it is recorded from 1908.
Among the Indians, more than half of every sentence is expressed by signs. And miners illustrate their conversation by the various terms used in mining. I have always noticed how clearly these terms conveyed the idea sought. Awkwardness in comprehending this dialect easily reveals that the hearer bears the disgrace of being a "pilgrim," or a "tender-foot," as they style the new emigrant. ["A Year in Montana," "Atlantic Monthly," August 1866]