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[rend] /rɛnd/
verb (used with object), rent, rending.
to separate into parts with force or violence:
The storm rent the ship to pieces.
to tear apart, split, or divide:
racial tension that is rending the nation.
to pull or tear violently (often followed by away, off, up, etc.).
to tear (one's garments or hair) in grief, rage, etc.
to disturb (the air) sharply with loud noise.
to harrow or distress (the heart) with painful feelings.
verb (used without object), rent, rending.
to split or tear something.
to become torn or split.
Origin of rend
before 950; Middle English renden, Old English rendan; cognate with Old Frisian renda
Related forms
rendible, adjective
2. rive, sunder, sever, cleave, chop, fracture, rupture. See tear2 . Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for rending
Contemporary Examples
  • “Heche's scenes with Depp have a rending poignancy,” Rolling Stone reviewed.

    Mob Wives of Hollywood April 21, 2011
Historical Examples
  • As he thrust back his chair, there came from the floor beneath—from the wall immediately behind him—an ominous, rending sound.

    News from the Duchy Sir Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch
  • And then was heard the rending of the rock as Fenrir broke loose.

    The Children of Odin Padraic Colum
  • A roar, like the rending asunder of the firmament, caused my soul to expand with horror and joy.

    Visionaries James Huneker
  • Was it the summons of Truth which was rending the whole nature in this way?

    Robert Elsmere Mrs. Humphry Ward
  • The rending power of roots on rocks has been greatly overrated.

    Proserpina, Volume 1 John Ruskin
  • At this moment there was a horrible crash of rending and breaking.

    Godfrey Morgan Jules Verne
  • It would have been as easy to snatch the carcass from the tiger that was rending it.

  • By a rending effort of the will he woke the rest of the room up.

    Howards End E. M. Forster
  • AM so apt to think that the rending of an outer garment is a token of true penitence and amendment of life.

British Dictionary definitions for rending


verb rends, rending, rent
to tear with violent force or to be torn in this way; rip
(transitive) to tear or pull (one's clothes, etc), esp as a manifestation of rage or grief
(transitive) (of a noise or cry) to disturb (the air, silence, etc) with a shrill or piercing tone
(transitive) to pain or distress (the heart, conscience, etc)
Derived Forms
rendible, adjective
Word Origin
Old English rendan; related to Old Frisian renda
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for rending



Old English rendan, hrendan "to tear, cut down," from West Germanic *randijanan (cf. Old Frisian renda "to cut, break," Middle Low German rende "anything broken," German Rinde "bark, crust"), probably related to rind. Related: Rended; rent; rending.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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