\ˈwend \
wended; wending; wends

Definition of wend 

(Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to direct one's course : travel

transitive verb

: to proceed on (one's way) : direct


\ˈwend \

Definition of Wend (Entry 2 of 2)

: a member of a Slavic people of eastern Germany

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Did You Know?

Wend is related to the verb "wind," which means, among other things, "to follow a series of curves and turns." It is also a distant relative of the verb "wander." "Wend" itself began its journey in Old English as windan, meaning "to twist." "Wend" has twisted itself into various meanings over the years. Most of its senses-including "to come about," "to depart," "to change," and "to betake"-have since wandered off into obscurity, but its current sense of "to direct or to proceed" is holding steady on the path.

Examples of wend in a Sentence


We wended through the narrow streets. We wended our way through the narrow streets.

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Reflecting that sense of public desperation, Sutter faces two other major suits — from employers and consumers — which are wending their way through the courts, both alleging anticompetitive conduct and inflated pricing. Chad Terhune, latimes.com, "California hospital giant Sutter Health faces heavy backlash on prices," 15 May 2018 That motion is still wending its way through city council, with a vote expected later this year. Susan Carpenter, Los Angeles Magazine, "Is There Any Hope for L.A.’s Terrible Streets and Sidewalks?," 7 May 2018 Reflecting that sense of public desperation, Sutter faces two other major suits — from employers and consumers — which are wending their way through the courts, both alleging anticompetitive conduct and inflated pricing. Chad Terhune, Washington Post, "California Hospital Giant Sutter Health Faces Heavy Backlash On Prices," 16 May 2018 The bills, which are wending through the Legislature, would include expanding Medi-Cal coverage to many more low-income Californians, including undocumented adult immigrants under age 26. Joe Garofoli, San Francisco Chronicle, "Where California’s candidates for governor stand on fixing health care," 13 May 2018 Usually, such education-equity cases wend their way through state courts, as all 50 state constitutions mandate public-education systems, while the country’s guiding document doesn’t even include the word education. Alia Wong, The Atlantic, "In America, Schools Aren’t Required to Teach Kids to Read and Write," 6 July 2018 And while the matter wends its way through family court, Johnny has primary custody of the boys. Jon Wertheim, SI.com, "Johnny Bench Is Already a Hall-of-Famer, But He's Looking For a New Distinction," 5 July 2018 President Trump has ordered that they be kept locked up while their cases wend their way through immigration courts, a process that often can take months or years. Jazmine Ulloa, latimes.com, "Trump administration ups its estimate of children separated from their parents to 3,000; about 100 are toddlers," 5 July 2018 Several similar cases are wending their way through the federal-court system. The Economist, "A court with a solid conservative majority could reshape American life," 5 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'wend.' 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 wend


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense


1786, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for wend


Middle English, from Old English wendan; akin to Old High German wenten to turn, Old English windan to twist — more at wind


German Wende, from Old High German Winida; akin to Old English Winedas, plural, Wends

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Statistics for wend

Last Updated

8 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for wend

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

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More Definitions for wend



English Language Learners Definition of wend

: to move from one place to another


\ˈwend \
wended; wending

Kids Definition of wend

: to go from one place to another

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Comments on wend

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


playful or foolish behavior

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