Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A newcomer not yet hardened to rough outdoor life; a greenhorn.
  • noun An inexperienced person; a novice.
  • noun A Boy Scout of the lowest rank.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A new-comer on the plains or in the bush, or one who has not become hardened to the life there; a greenhorn; a novice.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun Slang, Western U. S. A delicate person; one not inured to the hardship and rudeness of pioneer life.
  • noun See Boy scout.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun An inexperienced person; a novice
  • noun A newcomer to the region in the old U.S. frontier days.
  • noun The lowest rank of Boy Scout.

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

  • noun an inexperienced person (especially someone inexperienced in outdoor living)

Etymologies

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

tender +‎ foot. Refers to the delicate feet of newcomers to ranching or mining areas. First attested 1866.

Examples

  • The highest commendatory degree which can be passed upon a man in that country, and the one which distinguishes him from the tenderfoot, is that of being a "sour-dough boy."

    HOUSEKEEPING IN THE KLONDIKE

  • The highest commendatory degree which can be passed upon a man in that country, and the one which distinguishes him from the tenderfoot, is that of being a "sour-dough boy."

    Housekeeping In The Klondike

  • This was the second time today he'd been called a tenderfoot, and he didn't like it.

    Moon Shadow

  • "The first day a tenderfoot is our guest," replied Mollie Long, laughing.

    How Ethel Hollister Became a Campfire Girl

  • Mr. Ashe had been anxiously consulted, for the Eastern boy had no desire to be dubbed a tenderfoot; and now, except for its spotless newness, his costume was quite "Western and ranchified" -- according to Blue

    Blue Bonnet's Ranch Party

  • The redeeming point of the tenderfoot is his humbleness of spirit and his extreme good nature.

    The Mountains

  • The redeeming point of the tenderfoot is his humbleness of spirit and his extreme good nature.

    The Mountains

  • It rankled to be called tenderfoot by a slender chit of a woman.

    Smoke Bellew

  • I had now little fear of being called a tenderfoot and when I viewed my reflection in the spring I felt quite proud of my appearance.

    The Black Wolf Pack

  • Many a hungry "tenderfoot" has had cause to bless the fortune which led him to her door.

    The Authentic Life of Billy The Kid

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