bend1 /bɛnd/


I. verb

1. [with obj.] shape or force (something straight) into a curve or angle

the wire has to be bent back tightly.
2. [no obj.] (of something straight) be shaped or forced into a curve or angle

poppies bending in the wind.
3. [no obj., usu. with adverbial of direction] (of a road, river, or path) deviate from a straight line in a specified direction

the road bent left and then right.
4. [no obj.] (of a person) incline the body downwards from the vertical

she bent down and yanked out the flex
I bent over my plate.
5. [with obj.] move (a jointed part of the body) to an angled position

extend your left leg and bend your right.
6. force or be forced to submit

[with obj.]

they want to bend me to their will
[no obj.]
a refusal to bend to mob rule.
7. [with obj.] interpret or modify (a rule) to suit someone

we cannot bend the rules, even for Darren.
8. [with obj.] direct (one’s attention or energies) to a task

Eric bent all his efforts to persuading them to donate some blankets
[no obj.]
she bent once more to the task of diverting her guests.
9. [with obj.]
[Nautical] attach (a sail or cable) by means of a knot

sailors were bending sails to the spars.
II. noun

1. a curve in a road, river, path, or racing circuit.

the van screeched round a bend.
a bend in the river.
2. a curved or angled part of something

make a bend in the wire.
3. a kind of knot used to join two ropes together, or to tie a rope to another object, e.g. a carrick bend.
4. ( the bends) decompression sickness, especially in divers.
III. phrases

1. bend someone’s ear

‹informal› talk to someone, especially at length or to ask a favour.

she regularly bent his ear with her problems.
2. bend one’s elbow

(N. Amer.) drink alcohol.

not many wives or girlfriends were too interested in watching us bend our elbows.
3. bend over backwards
see backwards.
4. on bended knee(s)
see knee.
5. round ( ‹or US› around) the bend

‹informal› mad

I’d go round the bend looking after kids all day.
IV. derivatives

bendable /ˈbɛndəb(ə)l /

– origin Old English bendan ‘put in bonds, tension a bow by means of a string’, of Germanic origin; related to band1.

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