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See more synonyms for unbend on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with object), un·bent or (Archaic) un·bend·ed, un·bend·ing.
  1. to straighten from a bent form or position.
  2. to release from the strain of formality, intense effort, etc.; relax: to unbend one's mind.
  3. to release from tension, as a bow.
  4. Nautical.
    1. to loose or untie, as a sail or rope.
    2. to unfasten from spars or stays, as sails.
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verb (used without object), un·bent or (Archaic) un·bend·ed, un·bend·ing.
  1. to relax the strictness of formality or ceremony; act in an easy, genial manner: Imagine him unbending!
  2. to become unbent; straighten.
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Origin of unbend

Middle English word dating back to 1200–50; see origin at un-2, bend1
Related formsun·bend·a·ble, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for unbended

unwind, recline, soften, calm, breathe, relax, lean, deign, rectify, uncoil, loosen, defrost, melt, dissolve, spread, unravel, unfurl, repose, rest, tranquilize

Examples from the Web for unbended

Historical Examples of unbended

  • A wise and good man is never so amiable as in his unbended and familiar intervals.

    The Works of Samuel Johnson, LL.D., in Nine Volumes, Volume the Second

    Samuel Johnson

  • If ever Mr. Scarsdale unbended his reserved soul for a moment, it was Peggy who received the rare confidence.

  • She made herself very agreeable to the Archdeacon, who unbended very much, and grew very nice, as Mrs Chiley herself allowed.

    Miss Marjoribanks

    Mrs (Margaret) Oliphant

  • If she had a fault it was her unbended determination to go through with any thing she once undertook.

British Dictionary definitions for unbended


verb -bends, -bending or -bent
  1. to release or be released from the restraints of formality and ceremony
  2. informal to relax (the mind) or (of the mind) to become relaxed
  3. to become or be made straightened out from an originally bent shape or position
  4. (tr) nautical
    1. to remove (a sail) from a stay, mast, yard, etc
    2. to untie (a rope, etc) or cast (a cable) loose
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Derived Formsunbendable, adjective
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 unbended



"to relax a bow by unstringing it," mid-13c., from un- (2) + bend (v.). Figurative meaning "to become genial, relax" (1748) has a sense opposite to that of unbending "inflexible, obstinate" (1680s), which does not derive from the bowstringing image.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper