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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).
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.

a diagonal band extending from the dexter chief of an escutcheon to the sinister base.
Compare bend sinister.
in bend, (of a charge) set diagonally or in a diagonal row.

Tanning. half of a trimmed butt or hide.
a city in central Oregon.
an obstruction of the circulatory system caused by air, as may arise during surgery.
Also called the bends, caisson disease, decompression sickness. an acute condition caused by a rapid substantial decrease in atmospheric pressure, as in high-altitude flying and coming up from deep-sea diving, characterized by the formation of nitrogen bubbles in the blood, severe pain in the lungs and joints, and neurological impairment.
Contemporary Examples

The Unguarded Bill Clinton Ted Widmer October 4, 2009
Why I Committed Career Suicide Charles Perez August 8, 2009
Frank Underwood Will Not Tolerate Insubordination in This Olive Garden Kelly Williams Brown February 23, 2014
Joe, Start Acting Jewish! Lee Siegel December 13, 2009
Life on the Syrian Border Melik Kaylan June 30, 2011

Historical Examples

Young Alaskans in the Far North Emerson Hough
The Straw Eugene O’Neill
Starlight Ranch Charles King
The Straw Eugene O’Neill
Animal Proteins Hugh Garner Bennett

plural noun the bends
(functioning as singular or pl) a nontechnical name for decompression sickness
a former name for air embolism
verb bends, bending, bent
to form or cause to form a curve, as by pushing or pulling
to turn or cause to turn from a particular direction: the road bends left past the church
(intransitive; often foll by down, etc) to incline the body; stoop; bow
to submit or cause to submit: to bend before superior force
(transitive) to turn or direct (one’s eyes, steps, attention, etc)
(transitive) to concentrate (the mind); apply oneself closely
(transitive) (nautical) to attach or fasten, as a sail to a boom or a line to a cleat
(informal) bend over backwards, to make a special effort, esp in order to please: he bends over backwards to accommodate his customers
(informal) bend someone’s ear, to speak at length to an unwilling listener, esp to voice one’s troubles
(informal) bend the rules, 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
(Brit, slang) round the bend, mad; crazy; eccentric
(heraldry) an ordinary consisting of a diagonal line traversing a shield

bend one’s elbow
bend over backwards
bend someone’s ear


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