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

  • transitive v. To bring (something) into a state of tension: bend a bow.
  • transitive v. To cause to assume a curved or angular shape: bend a piece of iron into a horseshoe.
  • transitive v. To force to assume a different direction or shape, according to one's own purpose: "Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events” ( Robert F. Kennedy).
  • transitive v. To misrepresent; distort: bend the truth.
  • transitive v. To relax or make an exception to: bend a rule to allow more members into the club.
  • transitive v. To cause to swerve from a straight line; deflect.
  • transitive v. To render submissive; subdue.
  • transitive v. To apply (the mind) closely: "The weary naval officer goes to bed at night having bent his brain all day to a scheme of victory” ( Jack Beatty).
  • transitive v. Nautical To fasten: bend a mainsail onto the boom.
  • intransitive v. To deviate from a straight line or position: The lane bends to the right at the bridge.
  • intransitive v. To assume a curved, crooked, or angular form or direction: The saplings bent in the wind.
  • intransitive v. To incline the body; stoop.
  • intransitive v. To make a concession; yield.
  • intransitive v. To apply oneself closely; concentrate: She bent to her task.
  • n. The act or fact of bending.
  • n. The state of being bent.
  • n. Something bent: a bend in the road.
  • n. Nautical The thick planks in a ship's side; wales.
  • n. Decompression sickness. Used with the.
  • idiom around the bend Slang Insane; crazy.
  • idiom bend (one's) elbow Slang To drink alcoholic beverages.
  • idiom bend out of shape Slang To annoy or anger.
  • idiom bend To make an effort greater than is required.
  • idiom bend (someone's) ear Slang To talk to at length, usually excessively.
  • n. Heraldry A band passing from the upper dexter corner of an escutcheon to the lower sinister corner.
  • n. Nautical A knot that joins a rope to a rope or another object.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To cause (something) to change its shape into a curve, by physical force, chemical action, or any other means.
  • v. To become curved.
  • v. To cause to change direction.
  • v. To change direction.
  • v. To stoop.
  • v. To force to submit.
  • v. To submit.
  • v. To apply to a task or purpose.
  • v. To apply oneself to a task or purpose.
  • v. To adapt or interpret to for a purpose or beneficiary.
  • v. To tie, as in securing a line to a cleat; to shackle a chain to an anchor; make fast.
  • v. To smoothly change the pitch of a note.
  • v. To swing the body when rowing.
  • n. A curve.
  • n. Any of the various knots which join the ends of two lines.
  • n. A severe condition caused by excessively quick decompression, causing bubbles of nitrogen to form in the blood; decompression sickness.
  • n. One of the honourable ordinaries formed by two diagonal lines drawn from the dexter chief to the sinister base; it generally occupies a fifth part of the shield if uncharged, but if charged one third.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A turn or deflection from a straight line or from the proper direction or normal position; a curve; a crook.
  • n. Turn; purpose; inclination; ends.
  • n. A knot by which one rope is fastened to another or to an anchor, spar, or post.
  • n. The best quality of sole leather; a butt. See Butt.
  • n. Hard, indurated clay; bind.
  • n. same as caisson disease. Usually referred to as the bends.
  • n. A band.
  • n. One of the honorable ordinaries, containing a third or a fifth part of the field. It crosses the field diagonally from the dexter chief to the sinister base.
  • intransitive v. To be moved or strained out of a straight line; to crook or be curving; to bow.
  • intransitive v. To jut over; to overhang.
  • intransitive v. To be inclined; to be directed.
  • intransitive v. To bow in prayer, or in token of submission.
  • transitive v. To strain or move out of a straight line; to crook by straining; to make crooked; to curve; to make ready for use by drawing into a curve.
  • transitive v. To turn toward some certain point; to direct; to incline.
  • transitive v. To apply closely or with interest; to direct.
  • transitive v. To cause to yield; to render submissive; to subdue.
  • transitive v. To fasten, as one rope to another, or as a sail to its yard or stay; or as a cable to the ring of an anchor.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • 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.
  • To direct to a certain point: as, to bend one's course, way, or steps; to bend one's looks or eyes.
  • Figuratively, to apply closely: said of the mind.
  • To incline; determine: said of a person or of his disposition: as, to be bent on mischief.
  • To cause to bow or yield; subdue; make submissive: as, to bend a man to one's will.
  • Nautical, to fasten by means of a bend or knot, as one rope to another, or to an anchor; to shackle, as a chain-cable to an anchor.
  • To be or become curved or crooked.
  • To incline; lean or turn; be directed: as, the road bends to the west.
  • To jut over; overhang.
  • To bow or be submissive: as, to bend to fate.
  • To spring; bound.
  • To drink hard.
  • n. A band; a bond; a fetter; in plural, bands; bonds; confinement.
  • n. A band or clamp of metal or other material used to strengthen or hold together a box or frame.
  • n. Nautical: That part of a rope which is fastened to another or to an anchor.
  • n. 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.
  • n. One of the small ropes used to confine the clinch of a cable.
  • n. plural The thick planks in a ship's side below the waterways or the gun-deck port-sills. More properly called wales.
  • n. [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.
  • n. An inclination of the body; a bow.
  • n. An inclination of the eye; a turn or glance of the eye.
  • n. Inclination of the mind; disposition; bent. Farewell, poor swain; thou art not for my bend
  • n. 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.
  • n. A curved or elbow-shaped pipe used to change direction, as in a drain.
  • n. A spring; a leap; a bound.
  • n. A “pull” of liquor.
  • n. In mining, indurated clay, or any indurated argillaceous substance.
  • n. A band or strip used to bind around anything; a strip, whether as a fastening or as an ornament; a fillet, strap, bandage, etc.; specifically, a ribbon or bandeau for the head, used by ladies in the fifteenth century.
  • n. A name in the leathertrade for a butt or rounded crop cut in two; the half of a hide of sole-leather that was trimmed and divided before tanning.
  • n. In heraldry, one of the nine ordinaries, consisting of a diagonal band drawn from the dexter chief to the sinister base: when charged, it occupies a third of the field; when uncharged, a fifth.
  • n. An obsolete form of band.
  • n. Power; ability: as, that is above my bend.
  • n. 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.
  • n. plural Same as caisson-disease.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. bend a joint
  • n. curved segment (of a road or river or railroad track etc.)
  • n. a circular segment of a curve
  • v. change direction
  • v. form a curve
  • n. an angular or rounded shape made by folding
  • n. movement that causes the formation of a curve
  • v. cause (a plastic object) to assume a crooked or angular form
  • v. bend one's back forward from the waist on down
  • v. turn from a straight course, fixed direction, or line of interest
  • n. a town in central Oregon at the eastern foot of the Cascade Range
  • n. diagonal line traversing a shield from the upper right corner to the lower left


Middle English benden, from Old English bendan; see bhendh- in Indo-European roots.
Middle English, from Old English bend, band, and from Old French bende, bande, band (of Germanic origin.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)



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