What is the difference between tender and gentle? In my opinion, which comes from scenerios of movies and TV shows and which I am not sure about, tender refers to love such as mother taking care children and lovers while gentle's connotation is being polite as a gentleman to strangers or someone who is not close to us.

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    Be gentle with the baby does not connote be polite with the baby. Nor does Is your wound still tender? ask about love.
    – GoDucks
    Commented Feb 9, 2016 at 1:10

1 Answer 1


It's a good question and can be confusing since tender and gentle are shown as synonyms by many dictionaries.

For your usage:

Tender is related to affection and feeling

a mother's tender touch
the tenderness between the owner and their pet

Gentle is descriptive of temperment, how someone acts, their behaviour

his was always gentle and never angry
the doctor was gentle in treating his patients
the bad news was gently given

The gentleness between the lovers showed tenderness

  • Thank you very much. Now I know tender is something about affecttion.
    – Superuser
    Commented Feb 10, 2016 at 0:01

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