tend

1 of 2

verb (1)

tended; tending; tends

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

tend

2 of 2

verb (2)

tended; tending; tends

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

1
a
: 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
The former president hasn’t made a similar push to change Maine’s electoral college system, which tends to benefit Republican presidential candidates. Karissa Waddick, USA TODAY, 7 Apr. 2024 The concentration of these white blood cells related to immune function tends to decrease with age. Brenda Goodman, CNN, 7 Apr. 2024 There was a lengthy break in the action when someone in the audience appeared to require medical assistance and the Jonas Brothers paused the concert, leaving the stage for several minutes while security tended to the person. Ed Masley, The Arizona Republic, 7 Apr. 2024 Compared to ultrasonic models, evaporative humidifiers tend to cost less up front, though that balances out with the long-term upkeep cost of replacing filters. Paige Bennett, Better Homes & Gardens, 6 Apr. 2024 McLaren is reportedly a bit less selective than, say, Ferrari, in who gets to buy its cars, but those with the money and interest tend to be a self-selecting group anyway. Sean Evans, Robb Report, 6 Apr. 2024 By Judy Berman April 5, 2024 1:11 PM EDT History tends to be naughtier than the standard textbook lets on, and television has noticed. Judy Berman, TIME, 5 Apr. 2024 In real life, the comedy of coexistence tends to sparkle less. Wesley Morris Ron Butler Emma Kehlbeck Ted Blaisdell, New York Times, 5 Apr. 2024 Officers had been called shortly after 5 a.m. to find Ramirez being tended to by a family member. Caleb Lunetta, San Diego Union-Tribune, 5 Apr. 2024

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

Word History

Etymology

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"

First Known Use

Verb (1)

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Verb (2)

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near tend

Cite this Entry

“Tend.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tend. Accessed 21 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

tend

1 of 2 verb
1
: to pay attention
tend to business
2
a
: to take care of
b
: to help the growth or development of
tend the garden
3
: to have responsibility for as caretaker
tended sheep
4
: to manage the operation of or do the necessary work connected with
tend the fire

tend

2 of 2 verb
1
: to move or turn in a certain direction
the road tends to the right
2
: to be likely
a person who tends to slouch

More from Merriam-Webster on tend

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