Easily crushed or bruised; fragile: a tender petal. Easily chewed or cut: tender beef. Young and vulnerable: of tender age. Frail; delicate. Sensitive to frost or severe cold; not hardy: tender green shoots. Easily hurt; sensitive: tender skin. Painful; sore: a tender tooth. Considerate and protective; solicitous: a tender mother; his tender concern. Characterized by or expressing gentle emotions; loving: a tender glance; a tender ballad. Given to sympathy or sentimentality; soft: a tender heart. Nautical Likely to heel easily under sail; crank. To make tender. Archaic To treat with tender regard. A formal offer, as: Law An offer of money or service in payment of an obligation. A written offer to contract goods or services at a specified cost or rate; a bid. Something, especially money, offered in payment. To offer formally: tender a letter of resignation. See Synonyms at offer. One who tends something: a lathe tender. Nautical A vessel attendant on other vessels, especially one that ferries supplies between ship and shore. A railroad car attached to the rear of a locomotive and designed to carry fuel and water.