v. rent (rĕnt) also rend·ed, rend·ing, rends
a. To tear or split apart or into pieces violently. See Synonyms at tear1.
b. To tear (one's garments or hair) in anguish or rage.
2. To pull away forcibly; wrest: rent the money from his hand.
a. To pull, split, or divide: "Chip was rent between the impulse to laugh wildly and a bitterness that threatened hot tears" (Louis Auchincloss).
b. To pierce or disturb with sound: a scream rent the silence.
c. To cause pain or distress to: tales that rend the heart.
To become torn or split; come apart: a hole where the seam rends.
[Middle English renden, from Old English rendan.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.