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Posted by ESC on October 19, 2002

In Reply to: bent out of shape posted by R. Berg on October 18, 2002

: : : : : : : What is the meaning of the phrase "get bent"?

: : : : : : "Get bent! -- I despise you!" From "Flappers 2 Rappers: American Youth Slang" by Tom Dalzell (Merriam-Webster Inc., Springfield, Mass., 1996).

: : : : : : That's kind of weak, isn't it. "Get bent" means go get a penile injury. Doesn't it fellows?

: : : : : As a fellow, I agree it's rather flaccid, but how would I know?

: : : : Here in the NE part of the US of A I have always used and heard that phrase in two different but related ways.
: : : : One way is to use "bent" as a word to mean drunk or high as in "I was so bent last night I don't remember a thing".
: : : : Another way "bent" is used is to castigate or criticize someone who makes a dumb remark as in "Whadaya talkin' about, you're nuts, get bent will ya".
: : : : Outta here!

: : : I always thought that "Get bent!" arose from the earlier phrase "Don't get all bent outta shape, willya?". Whether either phrase (or both) has anything to penile injury, I have no idea, but it's lamentable how frequently the subject of genitals rears its ugly head.

: : Head? No pun intended, right? :)

: I hadn't heard "Get bent!," but, as an insult, it isn't very plausibly construed as a descendant of "Don't get bent out of shape." The latter means calm down, don't react so angrily/bitterly/haughtily/whatever. "Get bent," if derived from that, would be a command to get mad.

"Get bent" means having sex, according to "Speaking Freely: A Guided Tour of American English from Plymouth Rock to Silicon Valley" by Stuart Berg Flexner and Anne H. Soukhanov (Oxford University Press, New York, 1997). So Angry Karl may have a point. But "bent"? Ouch. That reminds me of a song -- "If love hurts, you're doing it wrong."

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