un·​bend ˌən-ˈbend How to pronounce unbend (audio)
unbent ˌən-ˈbent How to pronounce unbend (audio) ; unbending

transitive verb

: to free from flexure : make or allow to become straight
unbend a bow
: to cause to relax : to set at ease for a time
unbend the mind from study
: to unfasten from a spar or stay
unbend a sail
: to cast loose : untie
unbend a rope

intransitive verb

: to relax one's severity, stiffness, or austerity
: to cease to be bent : become straight

Examples of unbend in a Sentence

He was bending and unbending his fingers. His fingers were bending and unbending. He unbent a little at the party.
Recent Examples on the Web Despite his decision to shut out Netanyahu for months, Biden made a point of saying that his loyalty to Israel was unbending. Tracy Wilkinson, Los Angeles Times, 20 Sep. 2023 Whitfield, a man of unbending faith, sees a powerful harmony with the fact that the birthday of his mother, Ruth Whitfield, this year would have fallen on the Good Friday date of April 7, for Christians like him a day of death followed by rebirth. Gary Craig, USA TODAY, 14 May 2023 Hackett, who is unbending about confidentiality with the kind of decorum that would make Emily Post self-conscious, has clientele that encompasses top studios, individual C-suite executives and financiers. Mia Galuppo, The Hollywood Reporter, 10 May 2023 Then, unbend and flatten the second bobby pin to make one long, straight lock pick. Joseph Truini, Popular Mechanics, 17 Jan. 2023 Then unbend and flatten the second bobby pin to make one long, straight lock pick. Kevin Dupzyk and Joseph Truini, Popular Mechanics, 18 Nov. 2020 The Trump administration’s unbending policy toward Iran was supposed to force the foe into submission. Steve Chapman, chicagotribune.com, 19 June 2019 Sarri was unbending in his desire to implement his style and his philosophy at the club, and no amount of pressure from fans or journalists changed this fact. SI.com, 5 June 2019 Right-to-try laws indulge the fear that unbending bureaucrats in Washington have kept patients from medical cures with an excess of red tape. Daniel Engber, Slate Magazine, 25 July 2017 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

13th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of unbend was in the 13th century

Dictionary Entries Near unbend

Cite this Entry

“Unbend.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unbend. Accessed 1 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


un·​bend ˌən-ˈbend How to pronounce unbend (audio)
unbent -ˈbent How to pronounce unbend (audio) ; unbending
: to free from being bent : make or become straight

More from Merriam-Webster on unbend

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