verb (1)
\ˈtend \
tended; tending; tends

Definition of tend 

(Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to exhibit an inclination or tendency : conduce tends to be optimistic

2 : to move, direct, or develop one's course in a particular direction cannot tell where society is tending


verb (2)
tended; tending; tends

Definition of tend (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to pay attention : apply oneself tend to your own affairs tend to our correspondence

2 : to act as an attendant : serve tended to his wife

3 archaic : listen

4 obsolete : await

transitive verb

1a : to apply oneself to the care of : watch over tended her sick father

b : to have or take charge of as a caretaker or overseer tend the sheep

c : cultivate, foster

d : to manage the operations of : mind tend the store tend the fire

2 : to stand by (something, such as a rope) in readiness to prevent mischance (such as fouling)

3 archaic : to attend as a servant

Examples of tend in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

In Midtown Manhattan, business improvement districts can contribute to the cost of maintaining the space created when streets are closed — the gardeners who tend the flowers, the trash collectors who pick up litter. James Barron, New York Times, "Lounge in Them. Dash Through Them. But Don’t Call Them Parks.," 13 July 2018 Data on Thursday showed the June consumer-price index, which tends to run higher than the PCE price index, was up 2.9% from a year ago, the strongest reading since February 2012. Michael S. Derby, WSJ, "Fed’s Harker Says Inflation Will Determine Whether There Are Three or Four Rate Increases in 2018," 12 July 2018 And much new construction has been driven by developers, which tend to put profit before the provision of leisure or communal facilities. Michael Taylor, The Christian Science Monitor, "Won't you be my neighbor: Melbourne experiments with community-led housing," 11 July 2018 And that means finding a formula that’s bland, bland, bland, with absolutely zero essential oils—like lavender, peppermint, and rose—which tend to only irritate sensitive skin. Chloe Metzger, Marie Claire, "The Best Face Oil for Every Single Skin Type," 11 July 2018 Last year’s top sellers included Amazon’s Echo Dot smart speaker, which tended to feature sizable discounts of 20 to 30 percent or more, said Lipsman. Elizabeth Weise, USA TODAY, "Are Amazon Prime Day sales a steal? We asked 4 pricing firms to find out," 10 July 2018 Often the only information migrants have about reaching the United States comes from smugglers, who tend to abandon them once border agents close in. Maria Sacchetti, Washington Post, "‘If we’re all together, I can handle it’," 9 July 2018 In it, Ocasio-Cortez, a community activist who tended bar and waited tables until recently, introduces herself to her heavily Hispanic district in the Bronx and Queens. Mary Jordan, Anchorage Daily News, "Women candidates find their weapon: a viral ad that captures their 'magic'," 8 July 2018 Brett Kavanaugh, a top contender, has been a judge for a dozen years on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which tends to hear fewer cases about religion than some other circuits. Amy Goldstein, chicagotribune.com, "Judicial views on religion likely to figure into a fierce Supreme Court confirmation fight," 8 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tend.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of tend

Verb (1)

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Verb (2)

14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 3

History and Etymology for tend

Verb (1)

Middle English, to stretch, direct oneself, from Anglo-French tendre — more at tender

Verb (2)

Middle English, short for attenden to attend

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Phrases Related to tend

tend bar

Statistics for tend

Last Updated

18 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for tend

The first known use of tend was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for tend


\ˈtend \
tended; tending

Kids Definition of tend

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to take care of She tends the garden.

2 : to pay attention You should tend to business.

3 : to manage the operation of Who's tending the store?


tended; tending

Kids Definition of tend (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to be likely She tends to sleep late.

2 : to move or turn in a certain direction The road tends to the right.

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Comments on tend

What made you want to look up tend? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


one that holds something together

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