verb (1)
\ ˈtend How to pronounce tend (audio) \
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
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 Research has shown that people of every race tend to overestimate the size, weight and strength of Black men, and perceive Black bodies as more threatening than white bodies. Los Angeles Times, "Column: Derek Chauvin’s race-baiting defense is rooted in centuries-old stereotypes," 3 Apr. 2021 That could mean that where people tend to congregate, they are required to wear masks. David Hogberg, Washington Examiner, "How 'Neanderthal' Texas and Mississippi defied dire COVID predictions," 3 Apr. 2021 In an interview last week, founder and CEO Nick Alley declined to discuss how the company’s government customers tend to use the drones. Washington Post, "Defense-tech company Anduril buys Area-I, a manufacturer of tube-launched drones," 3 Apr. 2021 Her exit from the episode suggests some or all of this may be an undercover put-on, because consequences in the MCU really tend to wax and wane. Alan Sepinwall, Rolling Stone, "‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’: The Man Behind the Mask," 2 Apr. 2021 Some people prefer electric because these models tend to heat outdoor spaces efficiently. Megan Oster, chicagotribune.com, "Best patio essentials 2021," 2 Apr. 2021 However, this is not yet clear, as migration flows tend to increase in the spring months and reduce a bit in the hotter, late summer months. Randi Mandelbaum, The Conversation, "The situation at the US-Mexico border is a crisis – but is it new?," 2 Apr. 2021 The top of the draft gets the most attention; however, the middle rounds are where the best drafting teams tend to stand out from the pack. John Owning, Dallas News, "Film room: 3 potential mid-round targets for the Dallas Cowboys in the 2021 NFL draft," 2 Apr. 2021 Research has also shown that Asian psychiatric patients tend to focus on the physical symptoms of mental health instead of emotional ones. Israa Nasir, SELF, "8 Tips for Talking About Mental Health With Your Asian Family," 2 Apr. 2021

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 tenden "to stretch, spread, direct oneself (to), incline toward," borrowed from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French tendre "to stretch, hold out, offer, direct (one's course), go, aim (at)," going back to Latin tendere "to extend outward, stretch, spread out, direct (one's course), aim (at a purpose)" (Medieval Latin, "to lead toward, move in a particular direction") — more at tender entry 3

Verb (2)

Middle English tenden, shortened from attenden "to attend" or entenden, intenden "to intend"

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Learn More about tend

Time Traveler for tend

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for tend

Last Updated

5 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Tend.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tend. Accessed 10 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for tend


\ ˈtend How to pronounce tend (audio) \
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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for tend

Nglish: Translation of tend for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of tend for Arabic Speakers

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