verb (used without object)

  1. to be disposed or inclined in action, operation, or effect to do something: The particles tend to unite.
  2. to be disposed toward an idea, emotion, way of thinking, etc.: He tends to be overly optimistic. Her religious philosophy tends toward pantheism.
  3. to lead or conduce, as to some result or resulting condition: measures tending to improved working conditions; Governments are tending toward democracy.
  4. to be inclined to or have a tendency toward a particular quality, state, or degree: This wine tends toward the sweet side.
  5. (of a journey, course, road, etc.) to lead or be directed in a particular direction (usually followed by to, toward, etc.): a path tending toward the beach.

verb (used with object)

  1. to attend to by work or services, care, etc.: to tend a fire.
  2. to look after; watch over and care for; minister to or wait on with service: to tend the sick.
  3. Nautical. to handle or attend to (a rope).

verb (used without object)

  1. to attend by action, care, etc. (usually followed by to).

Verb Phrases

  1. tend on/upon, Archaic. to attend or wait upon; minister to; serve: She tended on the sick and dying with infinite compassion.

verb (when intr, usually foll by to or towards)

  1. (when tr, takes an infinitive) to have a general disposition (to do something); be inclinedchildren tend to prefer sweets to meat
  2. (intr) to have or be an influence (towards a specific result); be conducivethe party atmosphere tends to hilarity
  3. (intr) to go or move (in a particular direction)to tend to the south


  1. (tr) to care forto tend wounded soldiers
  2. (when intr, often foll by to) to attend (to)to tend to someone’s needs
  3. (tr) to handle or controlto tend a fire
  4. (intr often foll by to) informal, mainly US and Canadian to pay attention

v.1“to incline, to move in a certain direction,” mid-14c., from Old French tendre “stretch, hold forth, offer” (11c.), from Latin tendere “to aim, stretch, extend” (see tenet). v.2“attend to,” early 14c., a shortening of Middle English atenden (see attend).

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