View synonyms for bend



[ bend ]

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.

    Synonyms: bow, flex, crook, curve

  2. to direct or turn in a particular direction:

    to bend one's energies to the task.

  3. to cause to submit or yield:

    to bend someone to one's will.

    Synonyms: sway, persuade, compel, shape, mold, influence

  4. to modify or relax (restrictions, regulations, etc.) temporarily or in certain circumstances:

    to bend the rules.

  5. to incline mentally (usually followed by to or toward ):

    bending his thoughts back toward his childhood.

  6. to pull back the string of (a bow or the like) in preparation for shooting.
  7. Nautical. to fasten.
  8. 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.

  3. to turn or incline in a particular direction; be directed:

    The road bent toward the south.

  4. to yield or submit; give in.
  5. to bow in submission or reverence:

    bending to one's monarch.

  6. 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.

  3. 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.
  4. bends, Nautical.
    1. thick planking immediately below the waterways of a wooden vessel.
    2. the wales of a vessel.



[ bend ]


  1. Heraldry.
    1. a diagonal band extending from the dexter chief of an escutcheon to the sinister base. Compare bend sinister.
    2. in bend, (of a charge) set diagonally or in a diagonal row.
  2. Tanning. half of a trimmed butt or hide.



[ bend ]


  1. a city in central Oregon.



/ bɛnd /


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



/ bɛnd /


  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

  3. intr; often foll by down, etc to incline the body; stoop; bow
  4. to submit or cause to submit

    to bend before superior force

  5. tr to turn or direct (one's eyes, steps, attention, etc)
  6. tr to concentrate (the mind); apply oneself closely
  7. tr nautical to attach or fasten, as a sail to a boom or a line to a cleat
  8. bend over backwards informal.
    to make a special effort, esp in order to please

    he bends over backwards to accommodate his customers

  9. bend someone's ear informal.
    to speak at length to an unwilling listener, esp to voice one's troubles
  10. 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
  3. the act or state of bending
  4. round the bend slang.
    mad; crazy; eccentric

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Derived Forms

  • ˈbendable, adjective

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Other Words From

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

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Word History and Origins

Origin of bend1

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”; band 3

Origin of bend2

First recorded before 1000; Middle English adjective bende; blend of Old English bend “band, fetter” and Middle French bende ( Medieval Latin benda, binda ); band 2, band 3

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Word History and Origins

Origin of bend1

Old English bend band ²; see bend 1

Origin of bend2

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

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Idioms and Phrases

  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.

More idioms and phrases containing bend

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

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Synonym Study

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.

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Example Sentences

Adjust the screen’s brightness and contrast for comfort, and find a chair with arm rests that allows your child to sit with knees at a 90-degree bend and feet flat on the floor.

I began to recognize the slight bends in each trail and measure distance by landmarks like couches and paint cans.

Bend, Oregon, via Central Oregon Most Oregonian visitors envision moss-covered trees and a verdantly green and dense tree canopy that lends itself to rain more than snow.

The largest, just around the bend from Cymric 1Y, started in 2003.

It covers your backside when you need to pee in the desert—every female hiker knows what it’s like to try to time a bathroom break before someone rounds the bend—and it protects you from the sun while your swimsuit dries out.

And now, similarly, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee: "Bend over and take it like a prisoner!"

Clickbait title notwithstanding, Bend Over and Take It Like a Prisoner!

Today, the train chugs north out of Kanchanaburi over the famous bridge before it hits a spectacular bend in the river.

“They would bend my head back, put a towel over my face and pour water over the towel,” Harrison was quoted as saying.

After acknowledging that there has been a “bend in the curve” and a reason to hope, he warned against inaction.

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.

Malcolm reined up, and soon a British officer appeared round a bend in the road.

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.


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More About Bend

What is a basic definition of bend?

Bend means to make something change its shape from straight to curved or to make someone submit. A bend is a curve or a turn. The word bend has several other senses as a verb and a noun.

If you bend something that is straight, you are forcing it into a curve or an angle. If you bend a drinking straw, for example, you are using your hands to force it to curve or to slant. If you bend something too far, it may snap or break. Something or someone that bends is a bender.

  • Real-life examples: A baker needs to bend dough to make a pretzel. Yoga includes a lot of bending forward and backward.
  • Used in a sentence: Jonah’s arms were so sore after lifting weights that he could barely bend his arms.

Bend can also be used to mean to become curved or angled. This sense is often followed by the word over or down when referring to a person bending to stoop down. The adjective bendy describes something as bending easily or having a tendency to bend.

  • Used in a sentence: I bent over and picked up all of the trash on the ground.

A bend is a curve or change in direction.

  • Used in a sentence: When driving, you need to be careful of sudden bends in the road.

Bend can also mean to make someone submit or yield or to submit to someone else.

  • Used in a sentence: Charlemagne forced the conquered people to bend to his will.

Armando bent to her demands because he had no other choice.

Where does bend come from?

The first records of bend come from before 1000. It ultimately comes from the Old English verb bendan, meaning “to bind” or “to bend (a bow).” Bend is related to the word band.

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What are some other forms related to bend?

  • bender (noun)
  • bendy (adjective)
  • bendable (adjective)
  • nonbending (adjective)
  • rebendable (adjective)

What are some synonyms for bend?

What are some words that share a root or word element with bend

What are some words that often get used in discussing bend?

How is bend used in real life?

Bend is a common word used to mean to make something curved or to become curved.

Try using bend!

Is bend used correctly in the following sentence?

I had to bend the envelope a little bit to get it to fit inside the mailbox.

Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

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