bend + -er. In sense of “heavy drinking”, originally generally “spree”, from 1846, 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”.
bender (plural benders)
- One who, or that which, bends.
- A device to aid bending of pipes to a specific angle.
- (slang) A bout of heavy drinking.
- He's been out on a bender with his mates.
- (chiefly Britain, slang, derogatory) A homosexual man.
- A simple shelter, made using flexible branches or withies
- (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!’
- (obsolete, slang, US) A spree, a frolic.
- (obsolete, slang, US) Something exceptional.
In sense “bout of heavy drinking”, usually in form “on a bender”.
- “bender”, in Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary, 2001–.
- ^ Bartlett, Dictionary of Americanisms, Second Edition (1859), p. 29
- Cassell’s Dictionary of Slang, p. 96