TLC

Meaning of TLC

TLC stands for tender loving care. TLC, or tender loving care, is an English idiom that primarily refers to considerate, compassionate, and solicitous care and attention, as you might give to someone who is sick or grieving.

Providing treatment for someone who is sick and providing for their other needs is giving them TLC. Taking care of a loved one who is sick is also TLC. It encompasses not only physical acts of caring but treating them with kindness and love. And of course, babies need TLC!


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TLC can be used in various ways to describe being there for someone. Emotional support for someone who is grieving can be called TLC. Just being there and listening to someone can also be described as TLC.

When your mother brought you tissues and orange juice in bed when you were sick as a child, she was giving you TLC.

While ‘tender loving care’ and its initialism TLC originally referred to the work of caregivers like nurses, it has since been extended greatly.

And, it not only refers to people but to  Animals Plants Objects The term is often used euphemistically. For example. If a person needs major surgery, they need more than just TLC, since it implies simple care not involving complex medical intervention.

Now, let’s say that a realtor tells you that a house in very bad shape “just needs some TLC.” TLC is being used euphemistically.

In reality, the house probably needs a major renovation and will become a ‘money pit.’ This is much more than just some TLC, which would imply simple repairs and a fresh coat of paint.

TLC is also used euphemistically to refer to sexual relations.

Usage Notes

The word care in tender loving care is an abstract noun. Therefore, we never say a TLC. You can say:

  • the TLC
  • some TLC
  • a little TLC
  • a bit of TLC
  • a lot of TLC
  • plenty of TLC, etc.

Examples Of Use

“It looks bad now but all it needs is a little TLC and I’ll have it running smooth and looking great.”

“I don’t feel well,” said Milly. “All you need is a little TLC and some rest,” said mom.

“Your plants are going to die unless you give them some TLC.”

“Uncle John is coming home from the hospital today. He’s going to need some TLC.”

“What he needs now,” said the doctor, “is plenty of TLC and rest.”

“After my father died I was in pretty rough shape but my friends gave me so much TLC, before long I was feeling much better.”

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