• synonyms


verb (used with object)
  1. to make (something broken, worn, torn, or otherwise damaged) whole, sound, or usable by repairing: to mend old clothes; to mend a broken toy.
  2. to remove or correct defects or errors in.
  3. to set right; make better; improve: to mend matters.
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verb (used without object)
  1. to progress toward recovery, as a sick person.
  2. (of broken bones) to grow back together; knit.
  3. to improve, as conditions or affairs.
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  1. the act of mending; repair or improvement.
  2. a mended place.
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  1. mend sail, Nautical. to refurl sails that have been badly furled.Also mend the furl.
  2. on the mend,
    1. recovering from an illness.
    2. improving in general, as a state of affairs: The breach between father and son is on the mend.
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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


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.


Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for unmended

Historical Examples

  • No thought of brushing their worn-out, unmended boots ever entered their minds.

    Ester Ried Yet Speaking

    Isabella Alden

  • He had no doubt that it was clean, but he knew it would be unmended.


    Emily Hilda Young

  • A basket of unmended stockings balances the cradle on Mrs. Evans's other side, and an open Peerage lies upon her lap.

    Doctor Cupid

    Rhoda Broughton

  • Soiled frills or unmended hose must have originated this vulgarity!

  • In the country the old Roman roads were unmended, unkept; Europe was slipping backwards into uttermost barbarism.

British Dictionary definitions for unmended


  1. (tr) to repair (something broken or unserviceable)
  2. to improve or undergo improvement; reform (often in the phrase mend one's ways)
  3. (intr) to heal or recover
  4. (intr) (of conditions) to improve; become better
  5. (tr) Northern English to feed or stir (a fire)
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  1. the act of repairing
  2. a mended area, esp on a garment
  3. on the mend becoming better, esp in health
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Derived Formsmendable, adjectivemender, noun

Word Origin

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 unmended



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.

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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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with unmended


In addition to the idioms beginning with mend

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

also see:

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