Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To tear or split apart or into pieces violently. See Synonyms at tear1.
  • transitive v. To tear (one's garments or hair) in anguish or rage.
  • transitive v. To tear away forcibly; wrest.
  • transitive v. To pull, split, or divide as if by tearing: "Chip was rent between the impulse to laugh wildly and a bitterness that threatened hot tears” ( Louis Auchincloss).
  • transitive v. To pierce or disturb with sound: a scream rent the silence.
  • transitive v. To cause pain or distress to: tales that rend the heart.
  • intransitive v. To become torn or split; come apart.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To separate into parts with force or sudden violence; to tear asunder; to split; to burst
  • v. To part or tear off forcibly; to take away by force.
  • v. To be rent or torn; to become parted; to separate; to split.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To separate into parts with force or sudden violence; to tear asunder; to split; to burst
  • transitive v. To part or tear off forcibly; to take away by force.
  • intransitive v. To be rent or torn; to become parted; to separate; to split.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To separate into parts with force or sudden violence; tear asunder; split.
  • To remove or pluck away with violence; tear away.
  • Synonyms Rip, Tear, Rend, Split, Cleave, Fracture, Chop. In garments we rip along the line at which they were sewed; we tear the texture of the cloth; we say, “It is not torn; it is only ripped.” More broadly, rip, especially with up, stands for a cutting open or apart with a quick, deep stroke: as, to rip up a body or a sack of meal. Rend implies great force or violence. To split is primarily to divide lengthwise or by the grain: as, to split wood. Cleave may be a more dignified word for split, or it may express a cutting apart by a straight, heavy stroke. Fracture may represent the next degree beyond cracking, the lightest kind of breaking, leaving the parts in place: as, a fractured bone or plate of glass; or it may be a more formal word for break. To chop is to cut apart with a heavy stroke, which is generally across the grain or natural cleavage, or through the narrow dimension of the material: chopping wood is thus distinguished from splitting wood.
  • To be or to become rent or torn; become disunited; split; part asunder.
  • To cause separation, division, or strife.
  • An obsolete variant of ren.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. tear or be torn violently

Etymologies

Middle English renden, from Old English rendan.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English renden, from Old English rendan ("to rend, tear, cut, lacerate, cut down"), from Proto-Germanic *hrandijanan (“to tear”), of uncertain origin. Believed by some to be the causitive of Proto-Germanic *hrindanan (“to push”), from Proto-Indo-European *ḱret-, *kret- (“to hit, beat”), in which case would relate it to Old English hrindan ("to thrust, push"). Cognate with Scots rent ("to rend, tear"), Old Frisian renda ("to tear"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

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  • Citation on cleg.

    June 29, 2008