Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The tenderest part of a loin of beef, pork, or similar cut of meat.
  • n. A city district notorious for vice and graft.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The tenderest part of a loin of meat, especially of pork or beef

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A strip of tender flesh on either side of the vertebral column under the short ribs, in the hind quarter of beef and pork. It consists of the psoas muscles.
  • n. In New York City, the region which is the center of the night life of fashionable amusement, including the majority of the theaters, etc., centering on Broadway. The term orig. designates the old twenty-ninth police precinct, in this region, which afforded the police great opportunities for profit through conniving at vice and lawbreaking, one captain being reported to have said on being transferred there that whereas he had been eating chuck steak he would now eat tenderlion. Hence, in some other cities, a district largely devoted to night amusement, or, sometimes, to vice.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. That part of the loin of beef which is tenderer than the rest, in consequence of the softness or fineness of the muscular fiber; the psoas muscle of the ox and some other animals used as meat; the fillet; the undercut.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the tender meat of the loin muscle on each side of the vertebral column
  • n. a city district known for its vice and high crime rate

Etymologies

Sense 2, after the Tenderloin, an area of New York City (from the easy income it once afforded corrupt policemen).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

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  • District in San Francisco where the cops got such lucrative bribes they could afford steak for every meal. (via NPR's Says You)

    January 17, 2010

  • An abomination located in San Francisco.

    October 23, 2008

  • San Francisco's calling us, the Giants and Mets will play
    Piazza, New York catcher, are you straight or are you gay?
    We hung about the stadium, we've got no place to stay
    We hung about the tenderloin and tenderly you tell
    About the saddest book you ever read
    that always makes you cry
    The statue's crying too and well he may.


    (Piazza, New York catcher, by Belle and Sebastian)

    August 30, 2008