\ 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
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 Vacation budgets should also include the costs of having someone tend to the pets, whether that be boarding them or in-home care. Traci Howerton, NOLA.com, "Thinking of getting a pet? Here's rundown of costs you should plan for," 16 Sep. 2020 Immediately after the shooting, as other officers tend to Kay, the officer who fired the shot begins frantically looking for Kay's gun in the surrounding grass. CBS News, "D.C. police bodycam video shows fatal shooting of 18-year-old Deon Kay during pursuit," 4 Sep. 2020 Immediately after the shooting, as other officers tend to Kay, the officer who fired the shot begins frantically looking for Kay's gun in the surrounding grass. Ashraf Khalil, Star Tribune, "DC Police release body camera footage from fatal shooting," 3 Sep. 2020 For more nervous pets who won't go into the van, Eick said Rollin' Vets take the proper precautions to go into the home to tend to them. Sonia Ramirez, Houston Chronicle, "Making an appointment for your pets just got easier with Houston's 'Rollin' Vets' mobile clinic," 2 Sep. 2020 Protesters who were not arrested waited outside the jail for her and the others' release Saturday, including medics ready to tend to her foot. Chloe Jones, The Arizona Republic, "Woman says she was hurt while being arrested in connection with protest she didn't attend," 1 Sep. 2020 Paper wasp broods consist of males, fertile females that become future queens and sterile females called workers that help tend to their siblings and protect the nest. René A. Guzman, ExpressNews.com, "The buzz about paper wasps: these pollinators do more good than harm in San Antonio gardens," 1 Sep. 2020 Those were a few trains of thought when Fitzpatrick left the team for two days last week to tend to what the Dolphins deemed as a personal issue at the time. Safid Deen, sun-sentinel.com, "Dolphins QB Ryan Fitzpatrick mourns death of his mother, misses Saturday’s scrimmage," 29 Aug. 2020 The war-on-fire mentality found especially fertile ground in California, a state that had emerged from the genocide and cultural destruction of tribes who understood fire and relied on its benefits to tend their land. Elizabeth Weil, ProPublica, "They Know How to Prevent Megafires. Why Won’t Anybody Listen?," 28 Aug. 2020

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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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

19 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Tend.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tend. Accessed 27 Sep. 2020.

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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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Comments on tend

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