as in to rip
to cause (something) to separate into jagged pieces by violently pulling at it the prophecy that the disaster would cause people to rend their garments in mourning

Synonyms & Similar Words


Synonym Chooser

How is the word rend different from other verbs like it?

Some common synonyms of rend are cleave, rip, rive, split, and tear. While all these words mean "to separate forcibly," rend implies very violent or ruthless severing or sundering.

an angry mob rent the prisoner's clothes

When can cleave be used instead of rend?

While the synonyms cleave and rend are close in meaning, cleave implies very forceful splitting or cutting with a blow.

a bolt of lightning cleaved the giant oak

When might rip be a better fit than rend?

Although the words rip and rend have much in common, rip implies a pulling apart in one rapid uninterrupted motion often along a line or joint.

ripped the shirt on a nail

Where would rive be a reasonable alternative to rend?

The words rive and rend can be used in similar contexts, but rive occurs most often in figurative use.

a political party riven by conflict

In what contexts can split take the place of rend?

The synonyms split and rend are sometimes interchangeable, but 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

When is tear a more appropriate choice than rend?

In some situations, the words tear and rend are roughly equivalent. However, tear implies pulling apart by force and leaving jagged edges.

tear up the letter

Thesaurus Entries Near rend

Cite this Entry

“Rend.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Jul. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on rend

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