- 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
Related Wordscarefully, delicately, gently, lightly, gingerly, fondly, affectionately, mildly, adoringly
Examples from the Web for tenderly
I held it in my arms until the alarm in the safe rang harshly, and then tenderly, proudly, I replaced it and shut the steel doors.Read ‘The King in Yellow,’ the ‘True Detective’ Reference That’s the Key to the Show
Robert W. Chambers
February 20, 2014
I first glimpsed 11-year-old Yussef Mohamed tenderly cleaning the face of someone wounded.The Agony of Syria’s Children
April 1, 2013
Not since Bill Clinton has the middle class been so tenderly wooed.Marco Rubio Winsome in Response to Obama, Rand Paul Mostly Feisty
February 13, 2013
The models walked with a fistful of red roses, tenderly tossing them onto the bed-bound boys as they turned a corner.Thom Browne’s Women’s Line Evolves in the Wake of Michelle Obama’s Inaugural Ensemble
Misty White Sidell
February 12, 2013
But underneath all the brave chutzpah, wit, jokes and verve, it is touching, naïve and tenderly confused.This Week's Hot Reads
The Daily Beast
February 4, 2010
And Dick took Mary's hand in a warm clasp, pressed it tenderly.Within the Law
His eyes were so tenderly regardful that—I could not help it.The Bacillus of Beauty
She took the young girl in her arms, and tenderly kissed her forehead.
There was a short silence, when a voice called her tenderly.
After this she would be on her guard, forestall Martin, do tenderly what he would do harshly.Dust
Mr. and Mrs. Haldeman-Julius
- 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 tenderly
"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 tenderly
see leave to someone's tender mercies.