adjective, ten·der·er, ten·der·est.

verb (used with object)

to make tender.
Archaic. to regard or treat tenderly.

Nearby words

  1. tendency,
  2. tendency tone,
  3. tendential,
  4. tendentious,
  5. tendentiously,
  6. tender age,
  7. tender is the night,
  8. tender loving care,
  9. tender mercies,
  10. tender offer

Origin of tender

1175–1225; Middle English, variant of tendre < Old French < Latin tenerum, accusative of tener tender

Related formsten·der·ly, adverbten·der·ness, nounself-ten·der·ness, nounun·ten·der·ly, adverb

Can be confusedtender tenor tenure

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for tenderly

British Dictionary definitions for tenderly




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
  1. to make tender
  2. to treat tenderly
Derived Formstenderly, adverbtenderness, noun

Word Origin for tender

C13: from Old French tendre, from Latin tener delicate




(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
Derived Formstenderable, adjectivetenderer, noun

Word Origin for tender

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




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 for 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

Word Origin and History for tenderly
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for tenderly




Easily crushed or bruised; fragile.
Easily hurt; sensitive.
Painful; sore.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Idioms and Phrases with tenderly


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.