ten·​der·​loin ˈten-dər-ˌlȯin How to pronounce tenderloin (audio)
: a strip of tender meat consisting of a large internal muscle of the loin on each side of the vertebral column
[from its making possible a luxurious diet for a corrupt police officer] : a district of a city largely devoted to vice

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A tenderloin, of course, is a juicy and tasty cut of meat. In the late 19th century, however, Tenderloin saw use as a nickname for the neighborhood of midtown Manhattan, west of Broadway and below 42nd Street. This district, which contained numerous bordellos, gambling houses, and watering holes, alongside theaters and hotels, became a hotbed of corruption - and, it was alleged by some, blackmail by police. The notion of dishonest law enforcers being able to afford a nice meal off activity in this district is believed to have given the Tenderloin its name. Soon the term was applied to similarly seedy districts in other cities.

Examples of tenderloin in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Similar in theory to a Cordon Blue Chicken where bits and pieces of goodness are rolled up inside, this beef tenderloin recipe is actually quite simple to make— the key is to focus on choosing a lean cut of meat as well as high quality ingredients for the stuffing. Bhg Test Kitchen, Better Homes & Gardens, 23 Oct. 2023 By the time the episode ended, Kennedy emerged with the best dish among members of the West team, with her pork tenderloin with parsnip puree, apple butter gravy and pickled green apple salad. Kturnqui, oregonlive, 13 July 2023 Finally, The New York Times named Perini’s peppery tenderloin one of the best mail-order holiday gifts of the year. Sarah Blaskovich, Dallas News, 4 May 2023 How To Serve Creamed Corn This vegetable side dish goes great with roast chicken, pork tenderloin, or meatloaf. Jasmine Smith, Southern Living, 10 Sep. 2023 Have on hand a baking dish long enough to hold the tenderloin and a large cast-iron skillet or another skillet with an ovenproof handle. BostonGlobe.com, 25 Apr. 2023 Season the tenderloin on all sides with pepper, then salt. Gavin Kaysen, Robb Report, 30 Nov. 2022 The Times was running a contest, unbeknownst to Tom, and Perini Ranch’s tenderloin was picked as a winner just before Christmastime. Sarah Blaskovich, Dallas News, 4 May 2023 Brush the top of the tenderloin with about 3 tablespoons of the remaining marinade. BostonGlobe.com, 25 Apr. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'tenderloin.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

circa 1828, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of tenderloin was circa 1828


Dictionary Entries Near tenderloin

Cite this Entry

“Tenderloin.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tenderloin. Accessed 29 Nov. 2023.

Kids Definition


ten·​der·​loin ˈten-dər-ˌlȯin How to pronounce tenderloin (audio)
: a strip of tender meat (as beef or pork) on each side of the backbone
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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