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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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for unmended
Historical Examples
  • No thought of brushing their worn-out, unmended boots ever entered their minds.

    Ester Ried Yet Speaking Isabella Alden
  • He had no doubt that it was clean, but he knew it would be unmended.

    Yonder Emily Hilda Young
  • A basket of unmended stockings balances the cradle on Mrs. Evans's other side, and an open Peerage lies upon her lap.

    Doctor Cupid Rhoda Broughton
  • Soiled frills or unmended hose must have originated this vulgarity!

  • In the country the old Roman roads were unmended, unkept; Europe was slipping backwards into uttermost barbarism.

  • The German child learns that it must never wear a soiled or an unmended garment or have untidy hair.

    Home Life in Germany Mrs. Alfred Sidgwick
  • Many more houses had been smashed, and unmended shell holes were seen in the roads.

  • He slouched before Henry in untidy and unmended, but clean, Sunday attire.

    The Shoulders of Atlas Mary E. Wilkins Freeman
British Dictionary definitions for unmended


(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 unmended



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.

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