curved; crooked: a bent bow; a bent stick.
determined; set; resolved (usually followed by on): to be bent on buying a new car.
Chiefly British Slang.
  1. morally crooked; corrupt.
  2. stolen: bent merchandise.
  3. homosexual.


Origin of bent

First recorded in 1525–35; orig. past participle of bend1

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

Related Words for bent on

bound, determined, fixed, intent

British Dictionary definitions for bent on




not straight; curved
(foll by on) fixed (on a course of action); resolved (to); determined (to)
  1. dishonest; corrupt
  2. (of goods) stolen
  3. crazy; mad
  4. British offensivehomosexual


personal inclination, propensity, or aptitude
capacity of endurance (esp in the phrase to the top of one's bent)
civil engineering a framework placed across a structure to stiffen it




short for bent grass
a stalk of bent grass
archaic any stiff grass or sedge
Scot and Northern English dialect heath or moorland

Word Origin for bent

Old English bionot; related to Old Saxon binet, Old High German binuz rush
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 bent on



"mental inclination," 1570s, probably from earlier literal sense "condition of being deflected or turned" (1530s), from bent (adj.) "not straight" (q.v.).



"stiff grass," Old English beonet, from West Germanic *binut- "rush, marsh grass" (cf. Old Saxon binet, Old High German binuz, German Binse "rush, reed"), of unknown origin. An obsolete word, but surviving in place names (cf. Bentley, from Old English Beonet-leah; Bentham).



"not straight," late 14c. (earlier ibent, c.1300, from past participle of bend (v.). Meaning "turned or inclined in some direction" is from 1530s, probably as a translation of Latin inclinatio. Meaning "directed in a course" is from 1690s. Figurative phrase bent out of shape "extremely upset" is 1960s U.S. Air Force and college student slang.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with bent on

bent on

Also, bent upon. Determined, resolved, as in Jamie is bent on winning the math prize. This phrase, first recorded in 1762, always uses the past participle of the verb bend in the sense of “tend toward.”

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