\ ˈrend How to pronounce rend (audio) \
rent\ ˈrent How to pronounce rend (audio) \ also rended\ ˈren-​dəd How to pronounce rend (audio) \; 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

Synonyms for rend


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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,, 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, 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, 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

Time Traveler

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

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Cite this Entry

“Rend.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for rend



English Language Learners Definition of rend

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


\ ˈrend How to pronounce rend (audio) \
rent\ ˈrent \; rending

Kids Definition of rend

: to tear apart by force

More from Merriam-Webster on rend

Nglish: Translation of rend for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of rend for Arabic Speakers


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