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Anonymous asked in Education & ReferenceWords & Wordplay · 3 months ago

What does "bended but unbowed" mean exactly?

"In the face of pandemic, mutual aid networks have sprung up around the world as people look for ways to help each other out. Our desire for a better world – and our willingness to work for it - seems bended but unbowed by the shortcomings of our institutions."

2 Answers

  • 3 months ago
    Favorite Answer

    Anyone who writes "bended" instead of "bent" obviously doesn't know much English. This may explain why they mixed up two idioms, "bloodied but unbowed" and "bend but don't break," both of which refer to not giving up in a perilous situation.

  • 3 months ago

    Bended might be a case of irregular verb in process of regularization (like dove versus dived) but I have to admit to never having heard or seen "bended" except from a child.  Should be bent. 

    The saying is misquoted,  bent but not broken is the expected phrasing.  A thing that is bowed is bent, and although one can bend a thing (sharp bend) and it won't be bowed, a sharp bend indicates a greater weakness than the bowing would.  The bowing bends but does not break.  A sharp bend (a kink) is because there was fracture (structural failure).

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