from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Heraldry A band passing from the upper dexter corner of an escutcheon to the lower sinister corner.
  • noun Nautical A knot that joins a rope to a rope or another object.
  • intransitive verb To cause to assume a curved or angular shape.
  • intransitive verb To bring (a bow, for example) into a state of tension by drawing on a string or line.
  • intransitive verb To force to assume a different direction or shape, according to one's own purpose.
  • intransitive verb To misrepresent; distort.
  • intransitive verb To relax or make an exception to.
  • intransitive verb To cause to swerve from a straight line; deflect.
  • intransitive verb To render submissive; subdue.
  • intransitive verb To apply (the mind) closely.
  • intransitive verb Nautical To fasten.
  • intransitive verb To deviate from a straight line or position.
  • intransitive verb To assume a curved, crooked, or angular form or direction.
  • intransitive verb To incline the body; stoop.
  • intransitive verb To make a concession; yield.
  • intransitive verb To apply oneself closely; concentrate.
  • noun The act or fact of bending.
  • noun The state of being bent.
  • noun Something bent.
  • noun Nautical The thick planks in a ship's side; wales.
  • noun Decompression sickness. Used with the.
  • idiom (around the bend) Mentally deranged; crazy.
  • idiom (bend (one's) elbow) To drink alcoholic beverages.
  • idiom (bend out of shape) To annoy or anger.
  • idiom (bend/lean) To make an effort greater than is required.
  • idiom (bend (someone's) ear) To talk to at length, usually excessively.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Power; ability: as, that is above my bend.
  • noun A segmental plate or ring on which the movable carding-surfaces of a revolving flat cotton-carding machine run and are adjusted in their relation to the main cylinder or drum.
  • noun plural Same as caisson-disease.
  • noun A band; a bond; a fetter; in plural, bands; bonds; confinement.
  • noun A band or clamp of metal or other material used to strengthen or hold together a box or frame.
  • noun Nautical: That part of a rope which is fastened to another or to an anchor.
  • noun A knot by which a rope is fastened to another rope or to something else. The different sorts are distinguished as fisherman's bend, carrick-bend, etc. See cut under carrick-bend.
  • noun One of the small ropes used to confine the clinch of a cable.
  • noun plural The thick planks in a ship's side below the waterways or the gun-deck port-sills. More properly called wales.
  • noun [See etym.] The action of bending, or state of being bent or curved; incurvation; flexure: as, to give a bend to anything; to have a bend of the back.
  • noun An inclination of the body; a bow.
  • noun An inclination of the eye; a turn or glance of the eye.
  • noun Inclination of the mind; disposition; bent. Farewell, poor swain; thou art not for my bend
  • noun A part that is bent; a curve or flexure; a crook; a turn in a road or river, etc.: as, the bend of a bow, or of a range of hills.
  • noun A curved or elbow-shaped pipe used to change direction, as in a drain.
  • noun A spring; a leap; a bound.
  • noun A “pull” of liquor.
  • noun In mining, indurated clay, or any indurated argillaceous substance.
  • To bring or strain into a state of tension by curvature, as a bow preparatory to launching an arrow.
  • Hence Figuratively, to brace up or bring into tension, like a strong bow: generally with up.
  • To curve or make crooked; deflect from a normal condition of straightness; flex: as, to bend a stick; to bend the arm.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English, from Old English bend, band, and from Old French bende, bande, band (of Germanic origin; see bhendh- in Indo-European roots).]

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English benden, from Old English bendan; see bhendh- in Indo-European roots.]


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  • Charges set diagonally on the field of a Shield, in the position in which a bend would occupy, are said to be “_in bend_” and are arranged in the same manner: but it would be quite possible to have three or more charges each disposed bendwise; but yet, nevertheless, when taken together occupying the position of a fesse and therefore described also as in fesse.

    The Handbook to English Heraldry Charles Boutell 1844

  • The word "bend" is thrice repeated: "Against him that bendeth let him that bendeth bend," to imply the utmost straining of the bow.

    Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible 1871

  • To vastly increase -- or even marginally increase -- turnout among young voters would require him to again bend the curve of electoral history in midterm elections.

    Barack Obama and the difficulty of energizing young voters Chris Cillizza 2010

  • However, will definitely remember to bend from the knees.

    Ouch! « Tales from the Reading Room 2010

  • As sheet bends are used to attach two lines of differing diameter, a double sheet bend is used for two lines of radically differing diameter, with the smaller performing the double wrap around the larger.

    Knot Reference Wallet Card Keeps Your Knot Knowledge Fresh | Lifehacker Australia 2009

  • And, of course, you're right - reading books that challenge you, and force your brain to stretch and bend is a necessary part of being a good reader.

    Hard books Roger Sutton 2008

  • A land located just around the bend from the twilight zone!

    Carter says unity ticket would be 'worst mistake' 2008

  • LaraClaire said ... been there played this game, the bend is not fun by any stretch but i do love how you've made of joke out of it, got a smile from me. so thumbs up!

    Drowning in it. Jessica Hagy 2006

  • Has the closing burst needed to bend from the backside to make the tackle ... 2005

  • What sends me around the bend is what the author has to say about poor mothers.

    How Serfdom Saved the Women’s Movement 2004


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