- curved; crooked: a bent bow; a bent stick.
- determined; set; resolved (usually followed by on): to be bent on buying a new car.
- Chiefly British Slang.
- morally crooked; corrupt.
- stolen: bent merchandise.
- direction taken, as by one’s interests; inclination: a bent for painting.
- capacity of endurance: to work at the top of one’s bent.
- Civil Engineering. a transverse frame, as of a bridge or an aqueduct, designed to support either vertical or horizontal loads.
- Archaic. bent state or form; curvature.
- bent grass.
- a stalk of bent grass.
- Scot., North England. (formerly) any stiff grass or sedge.
- British Dialect. a moor; heath; tract of uncultivated, grassy land, used as a pasture or hunting preserve.
verb (used with object), bent or (Archaic) bend·ed; bend·ing.
- to force (an object, especially a long or thin one) from a straight form into a curved or angular one, or from a curved or angular form into some different form: to bend an iron rod into a hoop.
- to direct or turn in a particular direction: to bend one’s energies to the task.
- to cause to submit or yield: to bend someone to one’s will.
- to modify or relax (restrictions, regulations, etc.) temporarily or in certain circumstances: to bend the rules.
- to incline mentally (usually followed by to or toward): bending his thoughts back toward his childhood.
- to pull back the string of (a bow or the like) in preparation for shooting.
- Nautical. to fasten.
- Archaic. to strain or brace tensely (often followed by up).
verb (used without object), bent or (Archaic) bend·ed; bend·ing.
- to become curved, crooked, or bent: a bow that bends easily.
- to assume a bent posture; stoop (often followed by over): to bend as one walks; to bend over and pick up something.
- to turn or incline in a particular direction; be directed: The road bent toward the south.
- to yield or submit; give in.
- to bow in submission or reverence: bending to one’s monarch.
- to direct one’s energies: We bent to our work as the bell sounded.
- the act of bending.
- something that bends; curve; crook: a bend in the road; a bend in the curtain rod.
- Nautical. any of various loops or knots for joining the ends of two ropes or the like, or for joining the end of a rope or the like to some other object.
- bends, Nautical.
- thick planking immediately below the waterways of a wooden vessel.
- the wales of a vessel.
- the bends, aeroembolism(def 2).
- around/round the bend, Slang. insane; crazy: These interruptions will send me round the bend!
- bend/lean/fall over backward, to exert oneself to the utmost; make a serious effort: They bent over backward to make sure their guests were comfortable.
- not straight; curved
- (foll by on) fixed (on a course of action); resolved (to); determined (to)
- dishonest; corrupt
- (of goods) stolen
- crazy; mad
- British offensivehomosexual
- personal inclination, propensity, or aptitude
- capacity of endurance (esp in the phrase to the top of one’s bent)
- civil engineering a framework placed across a structure to stiffen it
- short for bent grass
- a stalk of bent grass
- archaic any stiff grass or sedge
- Scot and Northern English dialect heath or moorland
verb bends, bending or bent
- to form or cause to form a curve, as by pushing or pulling
- to turn or cause to turn from a particular directionthe road bends left past the church
- (intr; often foll by down , etc) to incline the body; stoop; bow
- to submit or cause to submitto bend before superior force
- (tr) to turn or direct (one’s eyes, steps, attention, etc)
- (tr) to concentrate (the mind); apply oneself closely
- (tr) nautical to attach or fasten, as a sail to a boom or a line to a cleat
- bend over backwards informal to make a special effort, esp in order to pleasehe bends over backwards to accommodate his customers
- bend someone’s ear informal to speak at length to an unwilling listener, esp to voice one’s troubles
- bend the rules informal to ignore rules or change them to suit one’s own convenience
- a curved part, as in a road or river
- nautical a knot or eye in a line for joining it to another or to an object
- the act or state of bending
- round the bend British slang mad; crazy; eccentric
- heraldry an ordinary consisting of a diagonal line traversing a shield
“mental inclination,” 1570s, probably from earlier literal sense “condition of being deflected or turned” (1530s), from bent (adj.) “not straight” (q.v.).
“stiff grass,” Old English beonet, from West Germanic *binut- “rush, marsh grass” (cf. Old Saxon binet, Old High German binuz, German Binse “rush, reed”), of unknown origin. An obsolete word, but surviving in place names (cf. Bentley, from Old English Beonet-leah; Bentham).
“not straight,” late 14c. (earlier ibent, c.1300, from past participle of bend (v.). Meaning “turned or inclined in some direction” is from 1530s, probably as a translation of Latin inclinatio. Meaning “directed in a course” is from 1690s. Figurative phrase bent out of shape “extremely upset” is 1960s U.S. Air Force and college student slang.
Old English bendan “to bend a bow; confine with a string, fetter,” causative of bindan “to bind,” from Proto-Germanic base *band- “string, band” (cf. Old Norse benda “to join, strain, strive, bend”), from PIE root *bhendh- “to bind” (cf. Gothic bindan, Old High German bintan, Sanskrit badhnati “binds,” Lithuanian bendras “partner;” Old Persian bandaka- “subject”).
“a bending or curving,” 1590s; “thing of bent shape,” c.1600, from bend (v.). Earlier “act of drawing a bow” (mid-15c.). The bends “decompression pain” first attested 1894.
“broad diagonal band in a coat-of-arms, etc.,” c.1400, from earlier sense of “thin, flat strap for wrapping round,” from Old English bend “fetter, shackle, chain,” from PIE *bhendh- (see bend (v.)).
- To incline the body; stoop.
In addition to the idioms beginning with bend
- bend one’s elbow
- bend over backwards
- bend someone’s ear
- around the bend
- crook (bend) one’s elbow
- on bended knee
Also see underbent.