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rend / rend/ • v. (past rent / rent/ ) [tr.] tear (something) into two or more pieces: snapping teeth that would rend human flesh to shreds| fig. the speculation and confusion that was rending the civilized world. ∎  [tr.] archaic wrench (something) violently: he rent the branch out of the tree. ∎ poetic/lit. cause great emotional pain to (a person or their heart). PHRASES: rend the air poetic/lit. sound piercingly: a shrill scream rent the air. rend one's garments tear one's clothes as a sign of extreme grief or distress.