\ˈrend \
rent\ˈrent \ also rended\ˈren-dəd \; rending

Definition of rend 

transitive verb

1 : to remove from place by violence : wrest

2 : to split or tear apart or in pieces by violence

3 : to tear (the hair or clothing) as a sign of anger, grief, or despair

4a : to lacerate mentally or emotionally

b : to pierce with sound

c : to divide (something, such as a nation) into contesting factions

intransitive verb

1 : to perform an act of tearing or splitting

2 : to become torn or split

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Synonyms for rend


rip, rive, shred, tatter, tear

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Choose the Right Synonym for rend

tear, rip, rend, split, cleave, rive mean to separate forcibly. tear implies pulling apart by force and leaving jagged edges. tear up the letter rip implies a pulling apart in one rapid uninterrupted motion often along a line or joint. ripped the shirt on a nail rend implies very violent or ruthless severing or sundering. an angry mob rent the prisoner's clothes split implies a cutting or breaking apart in a continuous, straight, and usually lengthwise direction or in the direction of grain or layers. split logs for firewood cleave implies very forceful splitting or cutting with a blow. a bolt of lightning cleaved the giant oak rive occurs most often in figurative use. a political party riven by conflict

Examples of rend in a Sentence

They rent the cloth to shreds. mourners rending their clothes in grief

Recent Examples on the Web

That's what Jonah craves after a particularly painful moment that Snyder delivers with rending clarity. Melinda Morris,, "'RuPaul's Drag Race' contestants coming to Metairie," 10 July 2017 Such a move would rend a global deal that has been hailed as historic, throwing into question the fate of global climate policy and, diplomats say, the credibility of the United States. Coral Davenport, New York Times, "Top Trump Advisers Are Split on Paris Agreement on Climate Change," 2 Mar. 2017 Although there are scenes of shocking cruelty, mostly involving Law’s character, Ritchie always pulls his camera away at the bloodiest moments, rending the PG-13 barbarity more theoretical. Michael O'sullivan, The Denver Post, "“King Arthur: Legend of the Sword” hits the reset button on the Arthurian legend," 12 May 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'rend.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of rend

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

History and Etymology for rend

Middle English, from Old English rendan; akin to Old Frisian renda to tear and perhaps to Sanskrit randhra hole

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Time Traveler for rend

The first known use of rend was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for rend



English Language Learners Definition of rend

: to tear (something) into pieces with force or violence


\ˈrend \
rent\ˈrent \; rending

Kids Definition of rend

: to tear apart by force

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Comments on rend

What made you want to look up rend? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to reject or criticize sharply

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