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[rend] /rɛnd/
verb (used with object), rent, rending.
to separate into parts with force or violence:
The storm rent the ship to pieces.
to tear apart, split, or divide:
racial tension that is rending the nation.
to pull or tear violently (often followed by away, off, up, etc.).
to tear (one's garments or hair) in grief, rage, etc.
to disturb (the air) sharply with loud noise.
to harrow or distress (the heart) with painful feelings.
verb (used without object), rent, rending.
to split or tear something.
to become torn or split.
Origin of rend
before 950; Middle English renden, Old English rendan; cognate with Old Frisian renda
Related forms
rendible, adjective
2. rive, sunder, sever, cleave, chop, fracture, rupture. See tear2 . Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for rending
Contemporary Examples
  • “Heche's scenes with Depp have a rending poignancy,” Rolling Stone reviewed.

    Mob Wives of Hollywood April 22, 2011
Historical Examples
  • She managed it with difficulty between the convulsions that were rending her.

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • By a rending effort of the will he woke the rest of the room up.

    Howards End E. M. Forster
  • There was a cracking and rending of timbers, and the water rushed in.

  • It's the devil that has entered into his heart and is rending him.

    The Manxman Hall Caine
  • With a rending crash it gave, and they fell sprawling into the cabin.

  • Promptly, with a sound of rending wood, the top flew half-way up.

    Nobody Louis Joseph Vance
  • The rending noises of the ice in all directions were distinct and fearful.

    The Frozen Pirate W. Clark Russell
  • The Veronese were for rending their hearts and not their rulers that day.

    Little Novels of Italy Maurice Henry Hewlett
  • It was an explosion, yes, but subtly different from the rending snap of hexynitrate.

    Morale Murray Leinster
British Dictionary definitions for rending


verb rends, rending, rent
to tear with violent force or to be torn in this way; rip
(transitive) to tear or pull (one's clothes, etc), esp as a manifestation of rage or grief
(transitive) (of a noise or cry) to disturb (the air, silence, etc) with a shrill or piercing tone
(transitive) to pain or distress (the heart, conscience, etc)
Derived Forms
rendible, adjective
Word Origin
Old English rendan; related to Old Frisian renda
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 rending



Old English rendan, hrendan "to tear, cut down," from West Germanic *randijanan (cf. Old Frisian renda "to cut, break," Middle Low German rende "anything broken," German Rinde "bark, crust"), probably related to rind. Related: Rended; rent; rending.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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