ten·der 1 (tĕndər)
adj. ten·der·er, ten·der·est
a. Easily crushed or bruised; fragile: a tender petal.
b. Easily chewed or cut: tender beef.
2. Young and vulnerable: of tender age.
3. Frail; delicate.
4. Sensitive to frost or severe cold; not hardy: tender green shoots.
a. Easily hurt; sensitive: tender skin.
b. Painful; sore: a tender tooth.
a. Considerate and protective; solicitous: a tender mother; his tender concern.
b. Characterized by or expressing gentle emotions; loving: a tender glance; a tender ballad.
c. Given to sympathy or sentimentality; soft: a tender heart.
7. Nautical Likely to heel easily under sail; crank.
tr.v. ten·dered, ten·der·ing, ten·ders
To make tender.
A strip of meat, usually chicken, often breaded, deep-fried, and served with a sauce.
[Middle English, from Old French tendre, from Latin tener; see ten- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots. N., possibly short for TENDERLOIN.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.