[ uhn-ben-ding ]
/ ʌnˈbɛn dɪŋ /


not bending or curving; inflexible; rigid.
refusing to yield or compromise; resolute.
austere or formal; aloof.

Origin of unbending

1545–55; un-1 + bending
Related formsun·bend·ing·ly, adverbun·bend·ing·ness, noun

Definition for unbending (2 of 2)


[ uhn-bend ]
/ ʌnˈbɛnd /

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

to straighten from a bent form or position.
to release from the strain of formality, intense effort, etc.; relax: to unbend one's mind.
to release from tension, as a bow.
  1. to loose or untie, as a sail or rope.
  2. to unfasten from spars or stays, as sails.

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

to relax the strictness of formality or ceremony; act in an easy, genial manner: Imagine him unbending!
to become unbent; straighten.

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. 2019

Examples from the Web for unbending

British Dictionary definitions for unbending (1 of 2)


/ (ʌnˈbɛndɪŋ) /


rigid or inflexible
characterized by sternness or severityan unbending rule
Derived Formsunbendingly, adverbunbendingness, noun

British Dictionary definitions for unbending (2 of 2)


/ (ʌnˈbɛnd) /

verb -bends, -bending or -bent

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



"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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper