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”.
- (bout of heavy drinking): binge, spree, toot
- (homosexual man): For semantic relationships of this sense, see male homosexual in the Thesaurus.
- (shelter): bender tent
- (obsolete, British slang) Used to express disbelief or doubt at what one has just heard. [early 19th c.]
- (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!
- (disbelief): For semantic relationships of this sense, see bullshit in the Thesaurus.
- (sarcasm): I don't think, not
- Cassell’s Dictionary of Slang, p. 96
- Eric Partridge, A Dictionary of the Underworld, London, Macmillan Co., 1949