[ bend ]
See synonyms for bend on
verb (used with object),bent or (Archaic) bend·ed; bend·ing.
  1. to force (an object, especially a long or thin one) from a straight form into a curved or angular one, or from a curved or angular form into some different form: to bend an iron rod into a hoop.

  2. to direct or turn in a particular direction: to bend one's energies to the task.

  1. to cause to submit or yield: to bend someone to one's will.

  2. to modify or relax (restrictions, regulations, etc.) temporarily or in certain circumstances: to bend the rules.

  3. to incline mentally (usually followed by to or toward): bending his thoughts back toward his childhood.

  4. to pull back the string of (a bow or the like) in preparation for shooting.

  5. Nautical. to fasten.

  6. Archaic. to strain or brace tensely (often followed by up).

verb (used without object),bent or (Archaic) bend·ed; bend·ing.
  1. to become curved, crooked, or bent: a bow that bends easily.

  2. to assume a bent posture; stoop (often followed by over): to bend as one walks;to bend over and pick up something.

  1. to turn or incline in a particular direction; be directed: The road bent toward the south.

  2. to yield or submit; give in.

  3. to bow in submission or reverence: bending to one's monarch.

  4. to direct one's energies: We bent to our work as the bell sounded.

  1. the act of bending.

  2. something that bends; curve; crook: a bend in the road;a bend in the curtain rod.

  1. Nautical. any of various loops or knots for joining the ends of two ropes or the like, or for joining the end of a rope or the like to some other object.

  2. bends, Nautical.

    • thick planking immediately below the waterways of a wooden vessel.

    • the wales of a vessel.

Idioms about bend

  1. around / round the bend, Slang. insane; crazy: These interruptions will send me round the bend!

  2. bend / lean / fall over backward, to exert oneself to the utmost; make a serious effort: They bent over backward to make sure their guests were comfortable.

Origin of bend

First recorded before 1000; Middle English verb benden, binde, Old English bendan “to bind, bend (a bow)”; cognate with Middle High German benden, Old Norse benda; akin to Old Norse band “band, cord, confederacy”; see band3

synonym study For bend

10. Bend, bow, stoop imply taking a bent posture. Bend and bow are used of the head and upper body; stoop is used of the body only.

Other words for bend

Other words from bend

  • bend·a·ble, adjective
  • non·bend·ing, adjective
  • re·bend·a·ble, adjective

Words Nearby bend

Other definitions for bend (2 of 3)

[ bend ]

  1. Heraldry.

    • a diagonal band extending from the dexter chief of an escutcheon to the sinister base.: Compare bend sinister.

    • in bend, (of a charge) set diagonally or in a diagonal row.

  2. Tanning. half of a trimmed butt or hide.

Origin of bend

First recorded before 1000; Middle English adjective bende; blend of Old English bend “band, fetter” and Middle French bende (Medieval Latin benda, binda ); see band2, band3

Other definitions for Bend (3 of 3)

[ bend ]

  1. a city in central Oregon. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use bend in a sentence

  • But there was no shadow ahead of him this night; there was no somber thing to bend down the high serenity of his happy heart.

    The Bondboy | George W. (George Washington) Ogden
  • Malcolm reined up, and soon a British officer appeared round a bend in the road.

    The Red Year | Louis Tracy
  • Perry Thomas parted from us at the gate, and we stood watching his retreating figure till we lost it at the bend.

  • We heard Aaron Kallaberger's stentorian tones as we clattered around the bend.

  • The boy's knees began to bend under him, and he was reaching a long, thin arm out behind hunting for the bench.

British Dictionary definitions for bend (1 of 2)


/ (bɛnd) /

verbbends, bending or bent
  1. to form or cause to form a curve, as by pushing or pulling

  2. to turn or cause to turn from a particular direction: the road bends left past the church

  1. (intr; often foll by down , etc) to incline the body; stoop; bow

  2. to submit or cause to submit: to bend before superior force

  3. (tr) to turn or direct (one's eyes, steps, attention, etc)

  4. (tr) to concentrate (the mind); apply oneself closely

  5. (tr) nautical to attach or fasten, as a sail to a boom or a line to a cleat

  6. bend over backwards informal to make a special effort, esp in order to please: he bends over backwards to accommodate his customers

  7. bend someone's ear informal to speak at length to an unwilling listener, esp to voice one's troubles

  8. bend the rules informal to ignore rules or change them to suit one's own convenience

  1. a curved part, as in a road or river

  2. nautical a knot or eye in a line for joining it to another or to an object

  1. the act or state of bending

  2. round the bend British slang mad; crazy; eccentric

Origin of bend

Old English bendan; related to Old Norse benda, Middle High German benden; see bind, band ³

Derived forms of bend

  • bendable, adjective

British Dictionary definitions for bend (2 of 2)


/ (bɛnd) /

  1. heraldry an ordinary consisting of a diagonal line traversing a shield

Origin of bend

Old English bend band ²; see bend 1

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with bend


In addition to the idioms beginning with bend

  • bend one's elbow
  • bend over backwards
  • bend someone's ear

also see:

  • around the bend
  • crook (bend) one's elbow
  • on bended knee

Also see underbent.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.