A Dictionary of the English Language
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Tender (adjective)

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Ténder. adj. [tendre, French.]

  1. Soft; easily impressed or injured.

    The earth brought forth the tender grass. Milton.

    From each tender stalk she gathers. Milton.

  2. Sensible; easily pained; soon sore.

    Unneath may she endure the flinty street,
    To tread them with her tender feeling feet.

    Leah was tender eyed, but Rachael was well-favoured. Gen. xxix. 17.

    Our bodies are not naturally more tender than our faces; but by being less exposed to the air, they become less able to endure it. L'Estrange.

    The face when we are born is no less tender than any other part of the body: it is use alone hardens it, and makes it more able to endure the cold. Locke on Education.

  3. Effeminate; emasculate; delicate.

    When Cyrus had overcome the Lydians, that were a warlike nation, and devised to bring them to a more peaceable life, instead of their short warlike coat he clothed them in long garments like women, and instead of their warlike musick appointed to them certain lascivious lays, by which their minds were so mollified and abated, that they forgot their former fierceness, and became most tender and effeminate. Spenser on Ireland.

  4. Exciting kind concern.

                    I love Valentine;
    His life's as tender to me as my soul.

  5. Compassionate; anxious for another's good.

    The tender kindness of the church it well beseemeth to help the weaker sort, although some few of the perfecter and stronger be for a time displeased. Hooker, b. v.

    This not mistrust but tender love injoins. Milton.

    Be tender hearted and compassionate towards those in want, and ready to relieve them. Tillotson's Sermons.

  6. Susceptible of soft passions.

    Your tears a heart of flint
    Might tender make, yet nought
    Herein they will prevail.

  7. Amorous; lascivious.

    What mad lover ever dy'd,
    To gain a soft and gentle bride?
    Or for a lady tender hearted,
    In purling streams or hemp departed?
    Hudibras, p. iii.

  8. Expressive of the softer passions.

  9. Careful not to hurt, with of.

    The civil authority should be tender of the honour of God and religion. Tillotson's Sermons.

    As I have been tender of every particular person's reputation, so I have taken care not to give offence. Addison.

  10. Gentle; mild; unwilling to pain.

    Thy tender hefted nature shall not give
    Thee o'er to harshness; her eyes are fierce, but thine
    Do comfort and not burn.
    Shakesp. King Lear.

    You, that are thus so tender o'er his follies,
    Will never do him good.
    Shakesp. Winter's Tale.

  11. Apt to give pain.

    In things that are tender and upleasing, break the ice by some whose words are of less weight, and reserve the more weighty voice to come in as by chance. Bacon.

  12. Young; weak: as, tender age.

    When yet he was but tender bodied, am other should not sell him. Shakespeare's Coriolanus.

Sources: Addison, Joseph (408) · Bacon, Francis (396) · Butler, Samuel (98) · Shakespeare's Coriolanus (80) · The Bible - Genesis (48) · Shakespeare's Henry VI, Part 2 (49) · Hooker, Richard (175) · Shakespeare's King Lear (144) · L'Estrange, Roger (131) · Locke, John (269) · Milton, John (449) · Spenser, Edmund (254) · Tillotson, John (68) · Shakespeare's Two Gentlemen of Verona (41) · Shakespeare's Winter's Tale (43)

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Cite this page: Johnson, Samuel. "Tender (adjective)." A Dictionary of the English Language: A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson. Edited by Brandi Besalke. Last modified: November 12, 2012. https://johnsonsdictionaryonline.com/tender-adjective/.

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