verb (used with object)

  1. to make (something broken, worn, torn, or otherwise damaged) whole, sound, or usable by repairing: to mend old clothes; to mend a broken toy.
  2. to remove or correct defects or errors in.
  3. to set right; make better; improve: to mend matters.

verb (used without object)

  1. to progress toward recovery, as a sick person.
  2. (of broken bones) to grow back together; knit.
  3. to improve, as conditions or affairs.


  1. the act of mending; repair or improvement.
  2. a mended place.


  1. mend sail, Nautical. to refurl sails that have been badly furled.Also mend the furl.
  2. on the mend,
    1. recovering from an illness.
    2. improving in general, as a state of affairs: The breach between father and son is on the mend.


  1. (tr) to repair (something broken or unserviceable)
  2. to improve or undergo improvement; reform (often in the phrase mend one’s ways)
  3. (intr) to heal or recover
  4. (intr) (of conditions) to improve; become better
  5. (tr) Northern English to feed or stir (a fire)


  1. the act of repairing
  2. a mended area, esp on a garment
  3. on the mend becoming better, esp in health

v.c.1200, “to repair,” from a shortened form of Old French amender (see amend). Meaning “to put right, atone for, amend (one’s life), repent” is from c.1300; that of “to regain health” is from early 15c. Related: Mended; mending. n.early 14c., “recompense, reparation,” from mend (v.). Meaning “act of mending; a repaired hole or rip in fabric” is from 1888. Phrase on the mend attested from 1802. In addition to the idioms beginning with mend

  • mend one’s fences
  • mend one’s ways
  • also see:

  • on the mend
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