"soft, easily injured," early 13c., from Old French tendre "soft, delicate, tender" (11c.), from Latin tenerem (nominative tener) "soft, delicate, of tender age," from PIE *ten- "stretch" (see tenet). Meaning "kind, affectionate, loving" first recorded c.1300. Meaning "having the delicacy of youth, immature" is attested from early 14c. Tender-hearted first recorded 1530s.