verb (used with object), rent, rend·ing.
- 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, rend·ing.
- to split or tear something.
- to become torn or split.
verb rends, rending or rent
- to tear with violent force or to be torn in this way; rip
- (tr) to tear or pull (one’s clothes, etc), esp as a manifestation of rage or grief
- (tr) (of a noise or cry) to disturb (the air, silence, etc) with a shrill or piercing tone
- (tr) to pain or distress (the heart, conscience, etc)
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.