verb (used with object), bent or (Archaic) bend·ed; bend·ing.

verb (used without object), bent or (Archaic) bend·ed; bend·ing.



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

before 1000; Middle English benden (v.) Old English bendan to bind, bend (a bow); cognate with Middle High German benden, Old Norse benda; akin to Old Norse band band. See band3
Related formsbend·a·ble, adjectivenon·bend·ing, adjectivere·bend·a·ble, adjective

Synonyms for bend

Synonym study

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. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for bendable

Contemporary Examples of bendable

Historical Examples of bendable

British Dictionary definitions for bendable



verb bends, bending or bent

to form or cause to form a curve, as by pushing or pulling
to turn or cause to turn from a particular directionthe road bends left past the church
(intr; often foll by down , etc) to incline the body; stoop; bow
to submit or cause to submitto bend before superior force
(tr) to turn or direct (one's eyes, steps, attention, etc)
(tr) to concentrate (the mind); apply oneself closely
(tr) nautical to attach or fasten, as a sail to a boom or a line to a cleat
bend over backwards informal to make a special effort, esp in order to pleasehe bends over backwards to accommodate his customers
bend someone's ear informal to speak at length to an unwilling listener, esp to voice one's troubles
bend the rules informal to ignore rules or change them to suit one's own convenience


a curved part, as in a road or river
nautical a knot or eye in a line for joining it to another or to an object
the act or state of bending
round the bend British slang mad; crazy; eccentric
See also bends
Derived Formsbendable, adjective

Word Origin for bend

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




heraldry an ordinary consisting of a diagonal line traversing a shield

Word Origin for 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

Word Origin and History for bendable



Old English bendan "to bend a bow; confine with a string, fetter," causative of bindan "to bind," from Proto-Germanic base *band- "string, band" (cf. Old Norse benda "to join, strain, strive, bend"), from PIE root *bhendh- "to bind" (cf. Gothic bindan, Old High German bintan, Sanskrit badhnati "binds," Lithuanian bendras "partner;" Old Persian bandaka- "subject").

Modern sense (early 14c.) is via notion of bending a bow to string it. Cognate with band, bind, and bond. Related: Bended; bent; bending.



"a bending or curving," 1590s; "thing of bent shape," c.1600, from bend (v.). Earlier "act of drawing a bow" (mid-15c.). The bends "decompression pain" first attested 1894.



"broad diagonal band in a coat-of-arms, etc.," c.1400, from earlier sense of "thin, flat strap for wrapping round," from Old English bend "fetter, shackle, chain," from PIE *bhendh- (see bend (v.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

bendable in Medicine




To incline the body; stoop.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Idioms and Phrases with bendable


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.