noun (1)
\ ˈbent How to pronounce bent (audio) \

Definition of bent

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : unenclosed grassland
2 botany
a(1) : a reedy grass (see grass entry 1 sense 2)
(2) : a stalk of stiff coarse grass



Definition of bent (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : changed by bending out of an originally straight or even condition bent twigs standing with knees slightly bent
2 : strongly inclined : determined usually used with on was bent on going
3 slang
a : different from the normal or usual … she was so bent that she's probably a woman who ought to be locked up somewhere …— Robert Redford
b chiefly British : dishonest, corrupt a bent cop
c chiefly US : intoxicated, drunk Like to get bent? This hangover beater will help you get back on track.Vibe
bent out of shape
: extremely upset or angry
get bent
slang used as an angry or contemptuous way of dismissing someone's statement, suggestion, etc. I try to call him the next morning to apologize, but he tells me to get bent.— Chuck Klosterman


noun (2)

Definition of bent (Entry 3 of 3)

1a : a strong inclination or interest : bias the organization's religious bent
b : a special inclination or capacity : talent students with a scientific bent
2 : capacity of endurance They fool me to the top of my bent.— Shakespeare
3 engineering : a transverse framework (as in a bridge) to carry lateral as well as vertical loads

Choose the Right Synonym for bent

Noun (2)

gift, faculty, aptitude, bent, talent, genius, knack mean a special ability for doing something. gift often implies special favor by God or nature. the gift of singing beautifully faculty applies to an innate or less often acquired ability for a particular accomplishment or function. a faculty for remembering names aptitude implies a natural liking for some activity and the likelihood of success in it. a mechanical aptitude bent is nearly equal to aptitude but it stresses inclination perhaps more than specific ability. a family with an artistic bent talent suggests a marked natural ability that needs to be developed. has enough talent to succeed genius suggests impressive inborn creative ability. has no great genius for poetry knack implies a comparatively minor but special ability making for ease and dexterity in performance. the knack of getting along

Examples of bent in a Sentence

Adjective With your knees slightly bent, bend forward and touch your toes. the drug dealer knew which of the cops were bent

First Known Use of bent

Noun (1)

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (2)

1587, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for bent

Noun (1)

Middle English, grassy place, bent grass, from Old English beonot-; akin to Old High German binuz rush


Middle English, from past participle of benden to bend

Noun (2)

irregular from bend entry 1

Learn More About bent

Time Traveler for bent

Time Traveler

The first known use of bent was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near bent




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for bent

Cite this Entry

“Bent.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Aug. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for bent


\ ˈbent How to pronounce bent (audio) \

Kids Definition of bent

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : changed by bending : crooked a bent pin
2 : strongly favorable to : quite determined She was bent on going anyway.



Kids Definition of bent (Entry 2 of 2)

: a natural talent or interest Some students have a scientific bent.

More from Merriam-Webster on bent

Nglish: Translation of bent for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of bent for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Commonly Confused Words Quiz

  • vector image of a face with thought expression
  • I went to the ______ store to buy a birthday card.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!