[ ten-der ]
See synonyms for: tendertenderedtenderertendering on Thesaurus.com

adjective,ten·der·er, ten·der·est.
  1. soft or delicate in substance; not hard or tough: a tender steak.

  2. weak or delicate in constitution; not strong or hardy.

  1. (of plants) unable to withstand freezing temperatures.

  2. young or immature: children of tender age.

  3. delicate or soft in quality: tender blue.

  4. delicate, soft, or gentle: the tender touch of her hand.

  5. easily moved to sympathy or compassion; kind: a tender heart.

  6. affectionate or loving; sentimental or amatory: a tender glance.

  7. acutely or painfully sensitive: a tender bruise.

  8. easily distressed; readily made uneasy: a tender conscience.

  9. yielding readily to force or pressure; easily broken; fragile: These roofing shingles are too old and tender.

  10. of a delicate or ticklish nature; requiring careful or tactful handling: a tender subject.

  11. considerate or careful; wary or reluctant (usually followed by of): He was tender of imposing his views on others.

  12. Nautical. crank2 (def. 1).

  1. Usually ten·ders .

    • a strip of chicken meat loosely attached to the underside of each breast half, along the breastbone.

    • a boneless and skinless strip of chicken cut from the breast or thigh.

verb (used with object)
  1. to make tender: He tendered the meat in his special marinade before throwing it on the grill.

  2. Archaic. to regard or treat tenderly.

Origin of tender

First recorded in 1175–1225; Middle English, variant of tendre, from Old French, from Latin tenerum, accusative of tener “tender”

Other words from tender

  • ten·der·ly, adverb
  • ten·der·ness, noun
  • self-ten·der·ness, noun

Words that may be confused with tender

Words Nearby tender

Other definitions for tender (2 of 3)

[ ten-der ]

verb (used with object)
  1. to present formally for acceptance; make formal offer of: to tender one's resignation.

  2. to offer or proffer.

  1. Law. to offer, as money or goods, in payment of a debt or other obligation, especially in exact accordance with the terms of the law and of the obligation.

verb (used without object)
  1. to make or submit a bid (often followed by for).

  1. the act of tendering; an offer of something for acceptance.

  2. something tendered or offered, especially money, as in payment.

  1. Commerce. an offer made in writing by one party to another to execute certain work, supply certain commodities, etc., at a given cost; bid.

  2. Law. an offer, as of money or goods, in payment or satisfaction of a debt or other obligation.

Origin of tender

First recorded in 1535–45; earlier tendre, noun use of Anglo-French tendre “to extend, offer”; see tend1

synonym study For tender

1. See offer.

Other words for tender

Other words from tender

  • ten·der·er, noun

Other definitions for tender (3 of 3)

[ ten-der ]

  1. a person who tends; a person who attends to or takes charge of someone or something.

  2. an auxiliary ship employed to attend one or more other ships, as for supplying provisions.

  1. a dinghy carried or towed by a yacht.

  2. Railroads. a car attached to a steam locomotive for carrying fuel and water.

Origin of tender

First recorded in 1425–75; late Middle English; originally a variant of attender; see tend2, -er1

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use tender in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for tender (1 of 3)


/ (ˈtɛndə) /

  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

  1. having or expressing warm and affectionate feelings: a tender smile

  2. kind, merciful, or sympathetic: a tender heart

  3. arousing warm feelings; touching: a tender memory

  4. gentle and delicate: a tender breeze

  5. requiring care in handling; ticklish: a tender question

  6. painful or sore: a tender wound

  7. sensitive to moral or spiritual feelings: a tender conscience

  8. (postpositive foll by of) careful or protective: tender of one's emotions

  9. (of a sailing vessel) easily keeled over by a wind; crank: Compare stiff (def. 10)

  1. (tr) rare

    • to make tender

    • to treat tenderly

Origin of tender

C13: from Old French tendre, from Latin tener delicate

Derived forms of tender

  • tenderly, adverb
  • tenderness, noun

British Dictionary definitions for tender (2 of 3)


/ (ˈtɛndə) /

  1. (tr) to give, present, or offer: to tender one's resignation; tender a bid

  2. (intr foll by for) to make a formal offer or estimate for (a job or contract)

  1. (tr) law to offer (money or goods) in settlement of a debt or claim

  1. the act or an instance of tendering; offer

  2. commerce a formal offer to supply specified goods or services at a stated cost or rate

  1. something, esp money, used as an official medium of payment: legal tender

Origin of tender

C16: from Anglo-French tendre, from Latin tendere to extend; see tend 1

Derived forms of tender

  • tenderable, adjective
  • tenderer, noun

British Dictionary definitions for tender (3 of 3)


/ (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

  1. an ancillary vehicle used to carry supplies, spare parts, etc, for a mobile operation, such as an outside broadcast

  2. a person who tends

Origin of tender

C15: variant of attender

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with tender


see leave to someone's tender mercies.

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