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

Despite Franklin’s efforts, this publishing imperialism tended to stunt the growth of indigenous publishing in many countries. Amanda Laugesen, Smithsonian, "This Cold War-Era Publishing House Wanted To Share American Values With the World," 13 July 2018 The section of the warrant that tends to include more information about crimes was redacted. Joshua Sharpe, ajc, "DeKalb teen stabbed man more than 30 times, killing him, cops say," 12 July 2018 Crocker spokeswoman Christine Calvin said the gallery would likely be large enough to draw visitors on its own and would likely house ceramics and other artwork that tends to not be environmentally sensitive. Ryan Lillis, sacbee, "Crocker Art Museum is expanding with this $40 million plan," 12 July 2018 If there is not anything in the atmosphere to help focus the thunderstorm activity, that tends to be the case. Weldon B. Johnson, azcentral, "Rain in Phoenix 3 days in a row? Yeah, it happens, but not very often," 12 July 2018 In this more intimate setting, Romero tends to chat with the audience between pieces. Beth Wood, sandiegouniontribune.com, "San Diego native Gustavo Romero returns to Athenaeum's Summer Festival for the 20th year," 12 July 2018 But to hold onto Democrats representing conservative states won by Trump, Democrats are increasingly talking about how Kavanaugh might shift the balance on President Obama’s healthcare law, a unifying issue that tends to poll well. latimes.com, "Democrats hope Obamacare fears will derail Kavanaugh as White House moves to soften his image," 11 July 2018 Restless, fearful and openly needy, Senetra’s W tends to circle these topics. Mike Fischer, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Door County theaters add stories and sparkle to summer nights," 11 July 2018 White bass – slow to fair along the dam and rocky points; largemouth bass – slow, but coves in the southern third of the reservoir have decent populations of bass and McIntyre Cove tends to produce the best. Tyler Mahoney Special To The Star, kansascity, "Fishing report: Catfish action picking up in Kansas, Missouri lakes," 11 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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Statistics for tend

Last Updated

29 Nov 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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More from Merriam-Webster on tend

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with tend

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for tend

Spanish Central: Translation of tend

Nglish: Translation of tend for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of tend for Arabic Speakers

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).


to move with a clumsy heavy tread

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