I can't find wether the word "нежно" is used for feelings/behaviour (: for ex. she's tender with her children, or he's a tender husband) or for materials (: for ex. some tender butter)...

  • 2
    The both uses are correct. But the primary meaning of the word is for feelings.
    – user5129
    Mar 1, 2015 at 13:14

4 Answers 4


I agree with the previous answer, it is used primarily to describe an attitude and personal traits.

Rarely you would use it for materials things, but not uncommon e.g. нежная одежда, нежная еда, but in these cases нежный is used primarily to say that these are lightweight clothes and delicacy although it can also denote soft clothes, but they still have to be lightweight and pretty like for example lace.


Yes, нежно is for behavior and feelings. Also you can use it for describing food:

нежный вкус (delicate flavour)

For materials use words мягкий (adjective) and мягко (adverb).
Rarely the word нежно could be used for materials in advertising.

  • 2
    Also can be used figuratively when related to materials. "Микроскоп - прибор нежный, гвозди забивать им не стоит". In this context it would mean that it can be easily broken (if used inappropriately). Mar 5, 2015 at 10:19

Someone is right in his comment to the question.

Common uses of нежный/нежно are:

  1. Feeling itself (your suggested "feelings/behaviour" case):

...Во тьме твои глаза блистают предо мною,
Мне улыбаются, и звуки слышу я:
Мой друг, мой нежный друг... люблю... твоя... твоя!.. (link)

...Любовь нежна?! Она груба, порочна,
Остра, как шип, и, словно тень, притворна... (link)

  1. Something expressing such feeling:

...Готов принять разлуку, смерть, отчаянье
За нежный взгляд, за свежесть милых уст... (link)

...Звучал мне долго голос нежный
И снились милые черты... (link)

  1. Physical characteristic (your suggested "tender butter" case, literally):

Даже используемое для омаров нежное сливочное масло облагорожено травками с кислинкой. (link)

  1. Shade of color:

Тогда в ней, как в гигантском зеркале, отражается далёкое нежно-голубое небо... (link)

You can find more meanings for нежный in Russian descriptive dictionaries: link 1, link 2, link 3.


It can absolutely be applied to both material and interpersonal things. It is more common/proper to be used for the interpersonal. But it could just as well be used playfully/in jest towards something material.

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