If you're tender, it means you're fragile, sensitive, easily bruised or gentle. Young, easily cut beef and a sentimental heart can both be called tender.

The many meanings attributed to tender developed over time. In the early 13th century, the word meant soft or easily injured. About a hundred years later, its meaning expanded to include kind and loving. Skip forward another century, and tender could also imply a lack of maturity.

Definitions of tender
  1. adjective
    easy to cut or chew
    tender beef”
    comestible, eatable, edible
    suitable for use as food
    chewable, cuttable
    easy to cut or chew
    crisp, crispy, crunchy
    tender and brittle
    flakey, flaky
    made of or easily forming flakes
    tenderised, tenderized
    made tender as by marinating or pounding
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    resistant to cutting or chewing
    inedible, uneatable
    not suitable for food
    cartilaginous, gristly, rubbery
    difficult to chew
    requiring much chewing
    coriaceous, leathered, leatherlike, leathery
    resembling or made to resemble leather; tough but pliable
    fibrous, sinewy, stringy, unchewable
    (of meat) full of sinews; especially impossible to chew
    fibrous, hempen
    having or resembling fibers especially fibers used in making cordage such as those of jute
    having a relatively tough outer covering
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  2. verb
    make tender or more tender as by marinating, pounding, or applying a tenderizer
    synonyms: tenderise, tenderize
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    type of:
    alter, change, modify
    cause to change; make different; cause a transformation
  3. adjective
    given to sympathy or gentleness or sentimentality
    “a tender heart”
    “a tender smile”
    tender loving care”
    tender memories”
    “a tender mother”
    compassionate and kind; conciliatory
    showing care
    given to or marked by sentiment or sentimentality
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    not given to gentleness or sentimentality
    deficient in human sensibility; not mentally or morally sensitive
    hard-bitten, hard-boiled, pugnacious
    tough and callous by virtue of experience
    tough-minded, unsentimental
    facing facts or difficulties realistically and with determination
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  4. adjective
    having or displaying warmth or affection
    “a tender glance”
    synonyms: affectionate, fond, lovesome, warm
    feeling or showing love and affection
  5. adjective
    young and immature
    “at a tender age”
    immature, young
    (used of living things especially persons) in an early period of life or development or growth
  6. adjective
    physically untoughened
    tender feet”
    synonyms: untoughened
    wanting in physical strength
    delicate, soft
    easily hurt
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    tough, toughened
    physically toughened
    sturdy and strong in constitution or construction; enduring
    experienced, experient
    having experience; having knowledge or skill from observation or participation
    having strength or power greater than average or expected
    callous, calloused, callused, thickened
    having calluses; having skin made tough and thick through wear
    enured, hardened, inured
    made tough by habitual exposure
    tanned and coarsened from being outdoors
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  7. adjective
    “the tender spot on his jaw”
    synonyms: raw, sensitive, sore
    causing physical or psychological pain
  8. adjective
    (of plants) not hardy; easily killed by adverse growing condition
    tender green shoots”
    exquisitely fine and subtle and pleasing; susceptible to injury
  9. adjective
    (used of boats) inclined to heel over easily under sail
    synonyms: crank, cranky, tippy
    lacking stability or fixity or firmness
  10. verb
    propose a payment
    synonyms: bid, offer
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    bid on behalf of someone else
    offer to buy, as of stocks and shares
    bid more than the object is worth
    bid too low
    bid higher than others
    bid lower than a competing bidder
  11. verb
    offer or present for acceptance
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    type of:
    gift, give, present
    give as a present; make a gift of
  12. verb
    make a tender of; in legal settlements
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    type of:
    offer, proffer
    present for acceptance or rejection
  13. noun
    something that can be used as an official medium of payment
    synonyms: legal tender, stamp
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    food stamp
    a government-issued stamp that can be used in exchange for food
    type of:
    medium of exchange, monetary system
    anything that is generally accepted as a standard of value and a measure of wealth in a particular country or region
  14. noun
    a formal proposal to buy at a specified price
    synonyms: bid
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    a bid that is higher than preceding bids
    buyout bid
    a bid to buy all of a person's holdings
    type of:
    offer, offering
    something offered (as a proposal or bid)
  15. noun
    someone who waits on or tends to or attends to the needs of another
    synonyms: attendant, attender
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    one paid to accompany or assist or live with another
    an attendant who takes care of baggage
    an orderly assigned to serve a British military officer
    bellboy, bellhop, bellman
    someone employed to carry luggage and run errands in a hotel
    bridesmaid, maid of honor
    an unmarried woman who attends the bride at a wedding
    caddie, golf caddie
    an attendant who carries the golf clubs for a player
    an attendant who checks coats or baggage
    an attendant at the court of a sovereign
    the attendant (usually an officer of a nobleman's household) whose duty is to fill and serve cups of wine
    a personal attendant of the British royal family
    an attendant who is employed to accompany someone
    (Middle Ages) an attendant and shield bearer to a knight; a candidate for knighthood
    a close attendant (as to a scholar)
    a young male attendant on a Scottish Highlander chief
    a male attendant of the bridegroom at a wedding
    lifeguard, lifesaver
    an attendant employed at a beach or pool to protect swimmers from accidents
    linkboy, linkman
    (formerly) an attendant hired to carry a torch for pedestrians in dark streets
    an attendant who loads guns for someone shooting game
    matron of honor
    a married woman serving as the attendant to the bride at a wedding
    hospital attendant, orderly
    a male hospital attendant who has general duties that do not involve the medical treatment of patients
    a soldier who serves as an attendant to a superior officer
    page, varlet
    in medieval times a youth acting as a knight's attendant as the first stage in training for knighthood
    a youthful attendant at official functions or ceremonies such as legislative functions and weddings
    an attendant who puts pool or billiard balls into a rack
    an attendant who rocks a child in a cradle
    the official attendant of a contestant in a duel or boxing match
    someone who performs the duties of an attendant for someone else
    a young nobleman attendant on a knight
    gallant, squire
    a man who attends or escorts a woman
    flight attendant, steward
    an attendant on an airplane
    litter-bearer, stretcher-bearer
    one who helps carry a stretcher
    one who holds up the train of a gown or robe on a ceremonial occasion
    arouser, rouser, waker
    someone who rouses others from sleep
    someone employed to park and retrieve cars
    armiger, armor-bearer
    a squire carrying the armor of a knight
    best man
    the principal groomsman at a wedding
    check girl, hatcheck girl
    a female checker
    color guard
    a ceremonial escort for the (regimental) colors
    guard of honor, honor guard
    an escort for a distinguished guest or for the casket at a military funeral
    someone (usually in totalitarian countries) who is assigned to watch over foreign visitors
    air hostess, hostess, stewardess
    a woman steward on an airplane
    guide, usher
    someone employed to conduct others
    type of:
    assistant, help, helper, supporter
    a person who contributes to the fulfillment of a need or furtherance of an effort or purpose
  16. noun
    car attached to a locomotive to carry fuel and water
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    type of:
    car, railcar, railroad car, railway car
    a wheeled vehicle adapted to the rails of railroad
  17. noun
    ship that usually provides supplies to other ships
    synonyms: supply ship
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    type of:
    a vessel that carries passengers or freight
  18. noun
    a boat for communication between ship and shore
    synonyms: cutter, pinnace, ship's boat
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    tender that is a light ship's boat; often for personal use of captain
    type of:
    a small vessel for travel on water
Word Family

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