General English

  • noun a curve in something such as a road or a pipe
  • verb to move your shoulders and head into a lower position
  • verb to make something curve
  • verb to move a jointed part of your body


  • An elbow fitting or other short length of bent conduit used to join two lengths of straight adjacent conduit.
  • A pipe fitting used to achieve a change in direction.


  • verb to change direction after pitching; break
    Citation ‘I had just made 14 off four balls from Lee, who was bowling off-turners that did not always bend much’ (Larwood 1933)


  • A deviation from a straight line or path. Also, a deviation from the usual or proper shape.
  • In a waveguide, a change in the direction of the longitudinal axis, as seen, for instance, in an elbow bend. Also, the section which effects this change. Also called waveguide bend.

Origin & History of “bend”

English band, bind, bond, and bundle are closely allied: all go back to a prehistoric Germanic base *band-. The relationship in meaning was, in the case of bend, more obvious in Old English times, when bendan meant ‘tie up’ as well as ‘curve’ (a sense preserved in the modern English noun bend ‘knot’, as in carrick bend). The rather strange-seeming meaning development appears to have come about as follows: bend in the sense ‘tie, constrain’ was used for the pulling of bow-strings, with reference to the strain or tension thereby applied to the bow; the natural consequence of this was of course that the bow curved, and hence (although not until the late 13th century) bend came to be used for ‘curve’.