When you make something straight, you unbend it. If your knees are stiff, it can be hard to unbend them after sitting cross-legged on the floor for a while.

To straighten something bent or twisted is to unbend it. You can finally unbend your arm once you get that cast off! And when you relax or loosen up, you figuratively unbend: "It'll be nice to take it easy this weekend, and finally unbend after a long, busy week." The original meaning of this verb was "relax a bow by unstringing it," from the word bend and its earliest definition, "bend a bow."

Definitions of unbend

v straighten up or out; make straight

bend, flex
form a curve
Type of:
change posture
undergo a change in bodily posture

v free from flexure

unbend a bow”
bend, deform, flex, turn, twist
cause (a plastic object) to assume a crooked or angular form
Type of:
straighten, straighten out
make straight

v unfasten, as a sail, from a spar or a stay

Type of:
cause to become undone

v make less taut

remove from tension
Type of:
loose, loosen
make loose or looser

v become less tense, rest, or take one's ease

decompress, loosen up, relax, slow down, unwind
tense, tense up
become tense, nervous, or uneasy
vege out, vegetate
engage in passive relaxation
sit back, take it easy
settle into a comfortable sitting position
Type of:
change state, turn
undergo a transformation or a change of position or action

v release from mental strain, tension, or formality

unbend the mind from absorbing too much information”
Type of:
loosen up, make relaxed, relax, unlax, unstrain, unwind
cause to feel relaxed

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, Vocabulary.com can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.