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bent ˈbent How to pronounce bend (audio) ; bending

transitive verb

: to constrain or strain to tension by curving
bend a bow
: to turn or force from straight or even to curved or angular
bend a pipe
: to force from a proper shape
Her bicycle's back wheel got bent in the crash.
: to force back to an original straight or even condition
bend the wire flat
: fasten
bend a sail to its yard
: to cause to turn from a straight course : deflect
bend a ray of light with a mirror
: to guide or turn toward : direct
bends his rapid steps in the direction of the headquarters …O. Henry
: incline, dispose
bending their minds to the Buddhist concept of eternityChristopher Rand
: to adapt to one's purpose : distort
bend the rules
: to direct strenuously or with interest : apply
bent himself to the task
: to make submissive : subdue
refusing to be bent

intransitive verb

: to curve out of a straight line or position
The road bends to the left.
tree limbs bending under the weight of the snow
bent down to pick up a piece of paper
bending double with pain
specifically : to incline the body in token of submission
bend to the queen
: to apply oneself vigorously
bending to their work
: incline, tend
She bends to the Left politically.
: compromise sense 2
refusing to bend under pressure to change
bending to the will of wealthy supporters
bendable adjective


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noun (1)

plural bends
: the act or process of bending
doing knee bends
: the state of being bent
the graceful bends of Gothic windows
: something that is bent: such as
: a curved part of a path (as of a stream or road)
Their house is down the road, just past the bend.
nautical : wale entry 1 sense 2
usually used in plural

see also the bends


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noun (2)

heraldry : a diagonal band that runs from the dexter chief (see chief entry 3 sense 1) to the sinister base (see base entry 1 sense 8) on a heraldic shield compare bend sinister
[Middle English, band, from Old English bend fetter — more at band] : a knot by which one rope is fastened to another or to some object
bend one's ear
: to talk to someone at length
bend over backward or bend over backwards
: to make extreme efforts
had to bend over backward to get these tickets
around the bend or British round the bend
: mentally unsound
appears to have gone around the bend

Examples of bend in a Sentence

Verb bend a wire into a circle bend the cable around a wheel He bent the bow and shot an arrow from it. His glasses got bent when he dropped them. The trees were bending in the wind. The branch will bend before it breaks. She bent down to pick up a piece of paper and then she straightened up again. He bent back to look up at the ceiling. bend to the left and then bend to the right Noun (1) it's hard to see around that bend in the road, so be careful did knee bends for exercise
Recent Examples on the Web
To bend the island metaphor to the squirrel’s perspective, Graham is less a stepping stone than a rock sinking under the rising sea of climate change. Brandon Loomis, The Arizona Republic, 20 May 2024 Robinson, who played his college ball at Maryland and Penn State, has a quick first step, the ability to bend around blocks and a knack for closing. Omar Kelly, Miami Herald, 20 May 2024 The people who made the hiring decisions were far more dangerous, for their ability to distribute plum jobs to underlings gave them tremendous power to bend government to their will. TIME, 14 May 2024 In the new study, researchers at Stanford, the University of Hong Kong, and tech giant Nvidia have overcome these problems with the help of optical metasurfaces, which are components engineered to bend light in unusual ways. IEEE Spectrum, 8 May 2024 Although this is comparable to many commercial AR systems, the scientists note future research could improve this field of view—for instance, by using a material that is better at bending light than the glass currently used in the metasurface. IEEE Spectrum, 8 May 2024 With time ticking toward final exams and commencement ceremonies, both sides appear to be entrenched and unwilling to bend, student negotiators said. Madison Lambert, NBC News, 26 Apr. 2024 Yet another simulation released by NASA shows the imagined point of view of an astronaut flying past a black hole as space appears to bend and morph. Eric Lagatta, USA TODAY, 7 May 2024 Heavy is for the creative people [who] bend the rules and shape-shift. Kyle Denis, Billboard, 7 May 2024
All of this follows the introduction of Apple’s slim new iPad Pro, which has held up impressively against YouTube’s strongest bend tests. Richard Lawler, The Verge, 17 May 2024 At the base, some 25 were gathered in small groups, many behind a bend sheltering onlookers from the falls’ jet-loud spray. Alex Pulaski, Los Angeles Times, 15 May 2024 Quinta de la Rosa Perched on a bend in the Douro River, Quinta de la Rosa offers a family-style stay so guests can feel immersed in the destination. Stacey Leasca, Travel + Leisure, 14 May 2024 Bats at the brink Estonia is a small nation tucked between Finland, Latvia and Russia, against a bend in the Baltic Sea. Corey Buhay, Smithsonian Magazine, 7 May 2024 Pontiac splashed through a moat of water spangles and ducked under a spruce-pine bend, and suddenly there was Bob Fireman’s Wagon Wheel. Carly Tagen-Dye, Peoplemag, 7 May 2024 While type 2 hair typically presents soft waves and bends, 3A hair offers loose curls. Kayla Greaves, Vogue, 3 May 2024 At the beginning of the video, her honey-blonde hair is long and loose, parted in the center and styled in soft bends, but just seconds later, it's pulled up in an effortlessly gorgeous simple bun right at the crown of her head, with two teeny tiny ringlets on either side of her face. Kara Nesvig, Allure, 23 Apr. 2024 And after 18 years working on Monarch Pass, Bennett knows every dip and bend of that particular stretch of highway. Jacob Spetzler, The Denver Post, 19 Apr. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'bend.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Verb and Noun (1)

Middle English, from Old English bendan; akin to Old English bend fetter — more at band

Noun (2)

Middle English, from Middle French bende, of Germanic origin; akin to Old High German binta, bant band — more at band

First Known Use


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Noun (1)

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (2)

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of bend was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near bend

Cite this Entry

“Bend.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 verb
bent ˈbent How to pronounce bend (audio) ; bending
: to pull tight
bend a bow
: to curve or cause a change of shape
bend a wire into a circle
: to turn in a certain direction
bent their steps toward town
: to apply or apply oneself closely
she bent herself to the task
: to curve out of line
the road bends to the left
: to curve downward : stoop
bend over and pick it up


2 of 2 noun
: the act or process of bending : the state of being bent
: something (as a curved part of a stream) that is bent
plural : a severe disorder marked by pain (as in joints), by difficulty in breathing, and often by collapsing and caused by release of gas bubbles (as of nitrogen) in the tissues upon too rapid a change from an environment of high air pressure to one of lower air pressure

called also caisson disease, decompression sickness

Geographical Definition


geographical name

city on the Deschutes River in central Oregon population 76,639

More from Merriam-Webster on bend

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