See also: Bender



bend +‎ -er. In sense of “heavy drinking”, originally generally “spree”, from 1846,[1] of uncertain origin – vague contemporary sense of “something extraordinary”, connection to bend (e.g., bending elbow to drink) or perhaps from Scottish sense of “strong drinker”.[1]



bender (plural benders)

  1. One who, or that which, bends.
  2. A device to aid bending of pipes to a specific angle.
  3. (slang) A bout of heavy drinking.
    He's been out on a bender with his mates.
    • 1857, Newspaper, April:[2]
      A couple of students of Williams College went over to North Adams on a bender. This would have been serious matter under the best of circumstances, but each returned with a “brick in his hat,” etc.
  4. (chiefly Britain, slang, derogatory) A homosexual man.
  5. A simple shelter, made using flexible branches or withies
  6. (obsolete, Britain, slang) A sixpence.
    • 1836, Charles Dickens, The Pickwick Papers 42:
      What will you take to be paid out?’ said the butcher. ‘The regular chummage is two–and–six. Will you take three bob?’ ‘And a bender,’ suggested the clerical gentleman. ‘Well, I don’t mind that; it’s only twopence a piece more,’ said Mr. Martin. ‘What do you say, now? We’ll pay you out for three–and–sixpence a week. Come!’
  7. (obsolete, slang, US) A spree, a frolic.
  8. (obsolete, slang, US) Something exceptional.

Usage notesEdit

In sense “bout of heavy drinking”, usually in form “on a bender”.


Derived termsEdit




  1. (obsolete, British slang) Used to express disbelief or doubt at what one has just heard. [early 19th c.]
  2. (obsolete, British slang) Used to indicate that the previous phrase was meant sarcastically or ironically. [early 19th c.]
    O yes, I'll do it — bender!



  1. 1.0 1.1 bender” in Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary, 2001–2020.
  2. ^ Bartlett, Dictionary of Americanisms, Second Edition (1859), p. 29
  • Cassell’s Dictionary of Slang, p. 96
  • Eric Partridge, A Dictionary of the Underworld, London, Macmillan Co., 1949




(This etymology is missing or incomplete. Please add to it, or discuss it at the Etymology scriptorium.)



  1. (transitive) to sell