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From Middle English unbenden, equivalent to un- +‎ bend.


  • (file)
    Rhymes: -ɛnd


unbend (third-person singular simple present unbends, present participle unbending, simple past and past participle unbent or (archaic) unbended)

  1. To remove a bend so as to make, or allow to become, straight
    to unbend a bow
  2. To release (a load) from a strain or from exertion; to set at ease for a time; to relax.
    to unbend the mind from study or care
    • Shakespeare
      You do unbend your noble strength.
  3. (nautical) To unfasten sails from the spars or stays to which are attached for use.
  4. To cast loose or untie
    Unbend the rope.
  5. To cease to be bent; to become straight.
  6. To relax in exertion, attention, severity, or the like
    • 1918, Edgar Rice Burroughs, The Land That Time Forgot Chapter VI
      He spent the afternoon shaping a swagger-stick from the branch of jarrah and talking with Miss La Rue, who had sufficiently unbent toward him to notice his existence.
  7. (archaic) to enjoy oneself; to become affable and free from formality