tend

1
[ 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.

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Origin of tend

1
1300–50; Middle English tenden < Middle French tendre < Latin tendere to stretch, extend, proceed

Definition for tend to (2 of 2)

tend2
[ tend ]
/ tɛnd /

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.

Origin of tend

2
1300–50; Middle English tenden, aphetic variant of attend
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

British Dictionary definitions for tend to (1 of 2)

tend1
/ (tɛnd) /

verb (when intr, usually foll by to or towards)

(when tr, takes an infinitive) to have a general disposition (to do something); be inclinedchildren tend to prefer sweets to meat
(intr) to have or be an influence (towards a specific result); be conducivethe party atmosphere tends to hilarity
(intr) to go or move (in a particular direction)to tend to the south

Word Origin for tend

C14: from Old French tendre, from Latin tendere to stretch

British Dictionary definitions for tend to (2 of 2)

tend2
/ (tɛnd) /

verb

(tr) to care forto tend wounded soldiers
(when intr, often foll by to) to attend (to)to tend to someone's needs
(tr) to handle or controlto tend a fire
(intr often foll by to) informal, mainly US and Canadian to pay attention

Word Origin for tend

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

Idioms and Phrases with tend to

tend to

1

Apply one's attention, as in We should tend to our business, which is to teach youngsters. This term uses tend in the sense of “attend.” [1300s]

2

Be disposed or inclined, as in We tend to believe whatever we are told. This term uses tend in the sense of “have a tendency.” [c. 1600]

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.