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(in the Christian religion) an annual season of fasting and penitence in preparation for Easter, beginning on Ash Wednesday and lasting 40 weekdays to Easter, observed by Roman Catholic, Anglican, and certain other churches.

before 1000; Middle English lente(n), Old English lencten, lengten spring, Lent, literally, lengthening (of daylight hours); cognate with Dutch lente, German Lenz spring; see Lenten

post-Lent, adjective


a suffix occurring in loanwords from Latin, variant of -ulent: pestilent.


verb (used with object), lent, lending.
to grant the use of (something) on condition that it or its equivalent will be returned.
to give (money) on condition that it is returned and that interest is paid for its temporary use.
to give or contribute obligingly or helpfully: to lend one's aid to a cause.
to adapt (oneself or itself) to something: The building should lend itself to inexpensive remodeling.
to furnish or impart: Distance lends enchantment to the view.
verb (used without object), lent, lending.
to make a loan.
lend a hand, to give help; aid: If everyone lends a hand, we can have dinner ready in half an hour.

before 900; Middle English lenden, variant (orig. past tense) of lenen, Old English lǣnan (cognate with Dutch lenen, German lehnen, Old Norse lāna), derivative of lǣn loan; cognate with German Lehnen, Old Norse lān. See loan1

lender, noun
interlend, verb, interlent, interlending.
overlend, verb, overlent, overlending.
relend, verb (used with object), relent, relending.

1. borrow, lend, loan (see usage note at loan) ; 2. lend, loan.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
lend (lɛnd)
vb , lends, lending, lent
1.  (tr) to permit the use of (something) with the expectation of return of the same or an equivalent
2.  to provide (money) temporarily, often at interest
3.  (intr) to provide loans, esp as a profession
4.  (tr) to impart or contribute (something, esp some abstract quality): her presence lent beauty
5.  (tr) to provide, esp in order to assist or support: he lent his skill to the company
6.  lend an ear to listen
7.  lend itself to possess the right characteristics or qualities for: the novel lends itself to serialization
8.  lend oneself to give support, cooperation, etc
[C15 lende (originally the past tense), from Old English lǣnan, from lǣnloan1; related to Icelandic lāna, Old High German lēhanōn]

lent (lɛnt)
the past tense and past participle of lend

Lent (lɛnt)
1.  Christianity the period of forty weekdays lasting from Ash Wednesday to Holy Saturday, observed as a time of penance and fasting commemorating Jesus' fasting in the wilderness
2.  (modifier) falling within or associated with the season before Easter: Lent observance
3.  (plural) (at Cambridge University) Lent term boat races
[Old English lencten, lengten spring, literally: lengthening (of hours of daylight)]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

O.E. lænan "to lend," from læn "loan" (see loan). Cognate with Du. lenen, O.H.G. lehanon, Ger. lehnen, also verbs derived from nouns. Past tense form, with terminal -d, became principal form in M.E. on analogy of bend, send, etc.

short for Lenten, from O.E. lencten "spring," the season, from W.Gmc. *langa-tinaz (cf. O.S. lentin, M.Du. lenten, O.H.G. lengizin manoth), from *lanngaz (root of O.E. lang "long") + *tina-, a root meaning "day" (cf. Goth. sin-teins "daily"), cognate with O.C.S. dini, Lith. diena, L. dies "day." the
compound probably refers to the increasing daylight. Church sense of "period between Ash Wednesday and Easter" is peculiar to Eng.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

Lent definition

In Christianity, a time of fasting and repentance in the spring, beginning on Ash Wednesday and ending several weeks later on Easter.

Note: To “give something up for Lent” is to abandon a pleasurable habit as an act of devotion and self-discipline.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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