- soft or delicate in substance; not hard or tough: a tender steak.
- weak or delicate in constitution; not strong or hardy.
- (of plants) unable to withstand freezing temperatures.
- young or immature: children of tender age.
- delicate or soft in quality: tender blue.
- delicate, soft, or gentle: the tender touch of her hand.
- easily moved to sympathy or compassion; kind: a tender heart.
- affectionate or loving; sentimental or amatory: a tender glance.
- considerate or careful; chary or reluctant (usually followed by of).
- acutely or painfully sensitive: a tender bruise.
- easily distressed; readily made uneasy: a tender conscience.
- yielding readily to force or pressure; easily broken; fragile.
- of a delicate or ticklish nature; requiring careful or tactful handling: a tender subject.
- Nautical. crank2(def 1).
- to make tender.
- Archaic. to regard or treat tenderly.
Origin of tender1
- to present formally for acceptance; make formal offer of: to tender one's resignation.
- to offer or proffer.
- 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.
- to make or submit a bid (often followed by for).
- the act of tendering; an offer of something for acceptance.
- something tendered or offered, especially money, as in payment.
- Commerce. an offer made in writing by one party to another to execute certain work, supply certain commodities, etc., at a given cost; bid.
- Law. an offer, as of money or goods, in payment or satisfaction of a debt or other obligation.
Origin of tender2
SynonymsSee more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
- a person who tends; a person who attends to or takes charge of someone or something.
- an auxiliary ship employed to attend one or more other ships, as for supplying provisions.
- a dinghy carried or towed by a yacht.
- Railroads. a car attached to a steam locomotive for carrying fuel and water.
Origin of tender3
Related Wordssupple, delicate, raw, mild, sentimental, romantic, mushy, touching, gentle, poignant, warm, thoughtful, soft, inflamed, aching, bruised, breakable, dainty, frail, sensitive
Examples from the Web for tender
According to Swiss press reports, younger cats in the litter are the most tender and, as such, are the preferred cat cuts.Will the Swiss Quit Cooking their Kittens and Puppies?
Barbie Latza Nadeau
November 30, 2014
She became an international sensation at the tender age of two—before she even started pre-school—for her abstract works of art.The Tiniest Jackson Pollock
November 5, 2014
Not surprisingly, a construction company in his region has already submitted a tender to build the project.The Great Wall of Ukraine
October 27, 2014
Always spare, often forceful, Ryan Adams alternates tough pop songs with tender, unsparing ballads.‘Ryan Adams’ Is No Domestic Bliss Album
September 12, 2014
How is life worth living without spinach, tender asparagus, or purple-sprouting broccoli?Brits Are Very Fussy Eaters
August 5, 2014
He is so very young and reverent and tender, and in a way so unsophisticated.The Spenders
Harry Leon Wilson
But it is impossible, say some, that he should make a tender or kind husband.Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9)
She joined in his laugh albeit, there was a tender look in her eyes.Ester Ried Yet Speaking
When they are tender, remove them from the fire and drain off the water.Woman's Institute Library of Cookery, Vol. 2
Woman's Institute of Domestic Arts and Sciences
It revealed surely a tender heart, one responsive to a pure love.Within the Law
- easily broken, cut, or crushed; soft; not tougha tender steak
- easily damaged; vulnerable or sensitivea tender youth; at a tender age
- having or expressing warm and affectionate feelingsa tender smile
- kind, merciful, or sympathetica tender heart
- arousing warm feelings; touchinga tender memory
- gentle and delicatea tender breeze
- requiring care in handling; ticklisha tender question
- painful or sorea tender wound
- sensitive to moral or spiritual feelingsa tender conscience
- (postpositive foll by of) careful or protectivetender of one's emotions
- (of a sailing vessel) easily keeled over by a wind; crankCompare stiff (def. 10)
- (tr) rare
- to make tender
- to treat tenderly
- (tr) to give, present, or offerto tender one's resignation; tender a bid
- (intr foll by for) to make a formal offer or estimate for (a job or contract)
- (tr) law to offer (money or goods) in settlement of a debt or claim
- the act or an instance of tendering; offer
- commerce a formal offer to supply specified goods or services at a stated cost or rate
- something, esp money, used as an official medium of paymentlegal tender
- a small boat, such as a dinghy, towed or carried by a yacht or ship
- a vehicle drawn behind a steam locomotive to carry the fuel and water
- an ancillary vehicle used to carry supplies, spare parts, etc, for a mobile operation, such as an outside broadcast
- a person who tends
Word Origin and History for tender
"soft, easily injured," early 13c., from Old French tendre "soft, delicate, tender" (11c.), from Latin tenerem (nominative tener) "soft, delicate, of tender age," from PIE *ten- "stretch" (see tenet). Meaning "kind, affectionate, loving" first recorded c.1300. Meaning "having the delicacy of youth, immature" is attested from early 14c. Tender-hearted first recorded 1530s.
"to offer formally," 1540s, from Middle French tendre "to offer, hold forth" (11c.), from Latin tendere "to stretch, extend" (see tenet). The retention of the ending of the French infinitive is unusual. The noun meaning "formal offer" is from 1540s; specific sense of "money that may be legally offered as payment" is from 1740.
"person who tends another," late 15c., probably an agent noun formed from Middle English tenden "attend to" (see tend (2)); later extended to locomotive engineers (1825) and barmen (1883). The meaning "small boat used to attend larger ones" first recorded 1670s.
- Easily crushed or bruised; fragile.
- Easily hurt; sensitive.
- Painful; sore.
Idioms and Phrases with tender
see leave to someone's tender mercies.