• noun a bout of heavy drinking, a riotous spree. The term may have originated in North America in the mid-19th century when ‘hell-bender’ meant any event or spectacle which was outrageous, aggressive or exciting. An alternative derivation is from bend the elbow. In its narrower sense of an unrestrained spree, the word was introduced in Britain at the end of the 19th century.
  • noun a homosexual. A term of contempt, originally for a passive male homosexual who supposedly bends over. The term is now probably heard less frequently than in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
  • noun a makeshift shelter. The word derives from the ‘bender tents’ used by gypsies or other travellers and made by stretching cloth or tarpaulin over bent-over saplings. It was brought into common currency by the women peace protesters camped outside the US base at Greenham Common in the mid-1980s.