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

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


Nearby words

  1. benchmark position,
  2. benchmarking,
  3. benchrest,
  4. benchwarmer,
  5. benchy,
  6. bend dexter,
  7. bend one's elbow,
  8. bend over backwards,
  9. bend sinister,
  10. bend someone's ear


    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

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.




  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.
Tanning. half of a trimmed butt or hide.

Origin of bend

before 1000; Middle English: coalescence of Old English bend band (see band3) and Middle French bende band2




a city in central Oregon.


[air-oh-em-buh-liz-uh m]

noun Pathology.

an obstruction of the circulatory system caused by air, as may arise during surgery.
Also called the bends, caisson disease, decompression sickness. an acute condition caused by a rapid substantial decrease in atmospheric pressure, as in high-altitude flying and coming up from deep-sea diving, characterized by the formation of nitrogen bubbles in the blood, severe pain in the lungs and joints, and neurological impairment.

Origin of aeroembolism

First recorded in 1935–40; aero- + embolism Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for bends

British Dictionary definitions for bends


pl n the bends

(functioning as singular or plural) a nontechnical name for decompression sickness



a former name for air embolism



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 bends
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for bends




decompression sickness




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 bends


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.