TENDER, (i) An adjective meaning soft, either physically or figuratively, derived from Fr. tendre, Lat. tener, soft, allied to tenuis, thin, and ultimately to be referred to the root, tan-, to stretch out, as in Lat. tendere. (2) A legal term meaning an offer for acceptance, particularly an offer in money for the satisfaction of a debt or liability or an offer to pay or deliver according to the terms of a contract; for " legal tender," the currency which can legally be offered and must be accepted in payment, see PAYMENT. The term is also applied specifically to an offer to do a specified piece of work or to supply certain goods for a certain sum or at a certain rate or to purchase goods at a certain rate. Contracts for large or important works or for the supply of large amounts of goods are usually put out to tender in order to secure the lowest price. In this sense the word is from " to tender," to offer, Fr. tendre, Lat. tendere, to stretch out. (3) A " tender " is also one who " attends " (Lat. attendere, to stretch towards, to give heed to), and so is applied particularly to a small vessel which brings, supplies, passengers, etc., to a larger vessel, or which is used to take or bring messages from or to her, and similarly to a carriage attached to a locomotive engine on a railway which carries coal or other fuel and water.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)