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[mend] /mɛnd/
verb (used with object)
to make (something broken, worn, torn, or otherwise damaged) whole, sound, or usable by repairing:
to mend old clothes; to mend a broken toy.
to remove or correct defects or errors in.
to set right; make better; improve:
to mend matters.
verb (used without object)
to progress toward recovery, as a sick person.
(of broken bones) to grow back together; knit.
to improve, as conditions or affairs.
the act of mending; repair or improvement.
a mended place.
mend sail, Nautical. to refurl sails that have been badly furled.
Also, mend the furl.
on the mend,
  1. recovering from an illness.
  2. improving in general, as a state of affairs:
    The breach between father and son is on the mend.
Origin of mend
1150-1200; Middle English menden, aphetic variant of amend
Related forms
mendable, adjective
remend, verb
unmendable, adjective
unmended, adjective
well-mended, adjective
1. fix, restore, retouch. Mend, darn, patch mean to repair something and thus renew its usefulness. Mend is a general expression that emphasizes the idea of making whole something damaged: to mend a broken dish, a tear in an apron. Darn and patch are more specific, referring particularly to repairing holes or tears. To darn is to repair by means of stitches interwoven with one another: to darn stockings. To patch is to cover a hole or tear, usually with a piece or pieces of similar material and to secure the edges of these; it implies a more temporary or makeshift repair than the others: to patch the knees of trousers, a rubber tire. 2. rectify, amend, emend. 3. ameliorate, meliorate. 4. heal, recover, amend.
1. ruin, destroy, 4. die, sicken. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for mends
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He who mends his things in time, is spared half the work and all the disgrace.

    Pelle the Conqueror, Complete Martin Anderson Nexo
  • There is no use in repining, unless one mends matters by deeds, not words.

    She and I, Volume 2 John Conroy Hutcheson
  • She mends my clothes, blacks my boots, keeps my bureau drawers in order, washes my hair.

    Dear Enemy Jean Webster
  • “He is the son of the cobbler who mends my boots,” she whispered.

    Olive in Italy Moray Dalton
  • He mends the plumbing, tunes the piano, types—off stage—and plays the saxophone.

    The Ghost Breaker Paul Dickey
  • But if they mends or ends the Lords—wich 'evvin forbid they ever do!

  • A man's first lie wounds a woman's heart, the second breaks it, the third mends it, and all the rest simply harden it.

    A Guide to Men Helen Rowland
  • The vessel also has two mends or strengthenings with lumps of black gum.

    Mohave Pottery Alfred L. Kroeber
British Dictionary definitions for mends


(transitive) to repair (something broken or unserviceable)
to improve or undergo improvement; reform (often in the phrase mend one's ways)
(intransitive) to heal or recover
(intransitive) (of conditions) to improve; become better
(transitive) (Northern English) to feed or stir (a fire)
the act of repairing
a mended area, esp on a garment
on the mend, becoming better, esp in health
Derived Forms
mendable, adjective
mender, noun
Word Origin
C12: shortened from amend
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for mends



c.1200, "to repair," from a shortened form of Old French amender (see amend). Meaning "to put right, atone for, amend (one's life), repent" is from c.1300; that of "to regain health" is from early 15c. Related: Mended; mending.


early 14c., "recompense, reparation," from mend (v.). Meaning "act of mending; a repaired hole or rip in fabric" is from 1888. Phrase on the mend attested from 1802.



early 14c., "recompense, reparation," from mend (v.). Meaning "act of mending; a repaired hole or rip in fabric" is from 1888. Phrase on the mend attested from 1802.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with mends
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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