the act of a person or thing that mends.
articles, especially clothes, to be mended: Grandmother always kept her mending in this wicker basket.

Origin of mending

Middle English word dating back to 1250–1300; see origin at mend, -ing1



verb (used with object)

to make (something broken, worn, torn, or otherwise damaged) whole, sound, or usable by repairing: to mend old clothes; to mend a broken toy.
to remove or correct defects or errors in.
to set right; make better; improve: to mend matters.

verb (used without object)

to progress toward recovery, as a sick person.
(of broken bones) to grow back together; knit.
to improve, as conditions or affairs.


the act of mending; repair or improvement.
a mended place.

Origin of mend

1150–1200; Middle English menden, aphetic variant of amend
Related formsmend·a·ble, adjectivere·mend, verbun·mend·a·ble, adjectiveun·mend·ed, adjectivewell-mend·ed, adjective

Synonyms for mend

1. fix, restore, retouch. Mend, darn, patch mean to repair something and thus renew its usefulness. Mend is a general expression that emphasizes the idea of making whole something damaged: to mend a broken dish, a tear in an apron. Darn and patch are more specific, referring particularly to repairing holes or tears. To darn is to repair by means of stitches interwoven with one another: to darn stockings. To patch is to cover a hole or tear, usually with a piece or pieces of similar material and to secure the edges of these; it implies a more temporary or makeshift repair than the others: to patch the knees of trousers, a rubber tire. 2. rectify, amend, emend. 3. ameliorate, meliorate. 4. heal, recover, amend.

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

Examples from the Web for mending

Contemporary Examples of mending

Historical Examples of mending

  • Emma finished the sleeve of the blouse she was mending with a flourish.

  • My old experience with parchment in the mending of my uncle's books came to my aid.

    Wilfrid Cumbermede

    George MacDonald

  • At her feet there was a pile of nets, and she was mending the broken meshes.

    A Singer from the Sea

    Amelia Edith Huddleston Barr

  • Madame Boche was going to a tailor who was late in mending an overcoat for her husband.


    Emile Zola

  • Madame Goujet continued her mending without raising her head.


    Emile Zola

British Dictionary definitions for mending



something to be mended, esp clothes



(tr) to repair (something broken or unserviceable)
to improve or undergo improvement; reform (often in the phrase mend one's ways)
(intr) to heal or recover
(intr) (of conditions) to improve; become better
(tr) Northern English to feed or stir (a fire)


the act of repairing
a mended area, esp on a garment
on the mend becoming better, esp in health
Derived Formsmendable, adjectivemender, noun

Word Origin for mend

C12: shortened from amend
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 mending



c.1200, "to repair," from a shortened form of Old French amender (see amend). Meaning "to put right, atone for, amend (one's life), repent" is from c.1300; that of "to regain health" is from early 15c. Related: Mended; mending.



early 14c., "recompense, reparation," from mend (v.). Meaning "act of mending; a repaired hole or rip in fabric" is from 1888. Phrase on the mend attested from 1802.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with mending


In addition to the idioms beginning with mend

  • mend one's fences
  • mend one's ways

also see:

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