Green’s Dictionary of Slang

bent adj.

[all fig. uses of SE + pun on broke adj.1 ]

1. intoxicated by liquor or drugs.

[US]A. Greene Life and Adventures of Dr Dodimus Duckworth II 176: He was seldom downright drunk; but was often [...] confoundedly bent.
[US] ‘Sl. Expressions for Drunk’ in New Republic in AS XVI:1 (1941) 9 Mar. 70: [...] bent.
[US]Weseen Dict. Amer. Sl. 272: Bent – intoxicated.
[US]Wentworth & Flexner DAS.
[US]R.R. Lingeman Drugs from A to Z (1970) 43: bent [...] high or intoxicated from a hallucinogen or narcotic.
[US]E.E. Landy Underground Dict. (1972).
[US]D.E. Miller Bk of Jargon 339: bent: High on drugs, usually hallucinogens, sometimes narcotics.
[US]W. Safire What’s The Good Word? 79: Bent [...] can also mean drunk.
[US]College Sl. Research Project (Cal. State Poly. Uni., Pomona) 🌐 Bent (adj.) High or intoxicated.
[US]T. Dorsey Triggerfish Twist (2002) 87: ‘How do you feel?’ asked Bernie. Coleman looked slowly around the room. ‘High, stoned, hammered, bent, [...]’.
Young Jeezy ‘Holy Ghost’ 🎵 Sippin’ good in the back, I’m like fuck it, I’m bent.

2. impoverished, penniless.

[Aus]Sydney Sportsman (Surry Hills, NSW) 5 Oct. 3/7: ‘What a lucky beggar Adam was [...] with no dressmaker’s bill to pay,’ said a badly bent punter to his spouse.
[US]Wentworth & Flexner DAS.

3. criminal; corrupt; thus on the bend under bend n.1 ; thus bent copper, bent screw, corrupt police officer, prison-warder.

[US]Jackson & Hellyer Vocab. Criminal Sl. 17: bent [...] crooked; larcenous. Example: His kisser shows that he’s bent.
[US]Irwin Amer. Tramp and Und. Sl. 26: Bent.—Crooked ; criminal ; outside the law. Directly the opposite of ‘straight,’ and applied to individuals, enterprises or goods.
[Ire]J. Phelan Letters from the Big House 144: ’E says as ’is china bust a two-handful kite, Scotch jug, flutes the bogeys cause the jumper ses the moniker’s bent. Slung ’em the madam, an’ copped.
[UK]‘Charles Raven’ Und. Nights 41: Much thought is given to the causes of crime: i.e. why blokes go bent. [Ibid.] 203: Members of the bent fraternity are very conventional [...] in their attitude to some things.
[UK]F. Norman in Education 22 Jan. in Norman’s London (1969) 92: It might even prevent young people from going ‘bent’ themselves.
[US]‘Hy Lit’ Hy Lit’s Unbelievable Dict. of Hip Words 9: The cat was away at college for an education. If he is still bent when he leaves, he will be back for straightening.
[UK]P. Fordham Inside the Und. 107: The bent policeman who tips off the crook.
[UK]A. Sayle Train to Hell 22: The city council is bent, the police force is bent, the government’s bent, the opposition is bent and you still can’t get a drink before seven on a Sunday evening.
[Aus]B. Ellem Doing Time 186: bent: corrupt, dishonest.
[UK]T. Blacker Fixx 127: A succession of clapped-out aristos and bent MPs.
[UK] in G. Tremlett Little Legs 165: There are bent screws in every nick.
[Aus]G. Disher Crosskill [ebook] Bent panelbeaters and car thieves.
[UK]N. Cohn Yes We have No 200: Bent cops go back on their deals.
[Aus]P. Temple Dead Point (2008) [ebook] What about this Cannon Ridge business? [...] Reckon it’s bent?
[US]J. Stahl Plainclothes Naked (2002) 43: Dr. Roos, a bent plastic surgeon he’d busted for selling ketamine two years ago. It turned out Special K was the least of it.
[Aus]L. Redhead Rubdown [ebook] Half the [drug] squad turned out bent.
[UK] (ref. to 1971) F. Dennis ‘Old Bailey’ Homeless in my Heart 180: Where coppers as bent as a hinge / March in and bellow their trade.
[UK]J.J. Connolly Viva La Madness 10: I got people to check with bent cozzers back home to see if the police were actively looking for me.
[US]J. Stahl Happy Mutant Baby Pills 156: I just took his car. Bent fuck like that, he’s not going to go to the authorities.
[Aus]D. Whish-Wilson Zero at the Bone [ebook] [H]is dubious reputation as a bent cop.
[Aus]D. Whish-Wilson Shore Leave 197: Gooch was a bent copper.
[US]J. Ellroy Widespread Panic 261: ‘No shakedown attempts by any bent cops who might know the story’.
[UK]J. Meades Empty Wigs (t/s) 324: ‘[H]e was the most reliably bent bluebottle you could hope to meet. Not an honest bone in his body’.

4. spoiled, ruined.

[UK](con. 1914–1918) Brophy & Partridge Songs and Sl. of the British Soldier 210: Bent, spoiled, ruined, e.g. ‘a good man bent’ or even ‘good tea bent’.

5. illegal, stolen.

[Aus]Gippsland Times(Vic.) 29 Jan. 3/2: The stolen goods are known as ‘bent stuff’ or ‘swag’.
[US]E.H. Lavine Third Degree (1931) 39: A member of the Auto Squad arrested a city fireman [...] for having sold a stolen or bent car.
[US]J.E. Hoover Persons in Hiding 246: You suspect me of being in a stolen car? Look it over, take the numbers. You’ll never find me in a bent job.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
[UK]B. Hill Boss of Britain’s Underworld 16: My mother was a buyer of bent gear.
[UK]F. Norman Bang To Rights 150: Well have you got any bent geer in the back?
[UK]G.F. Newman Sir, You Bastard 61: The two rooms held nothing bent.
[UK]S. Berkoff West in Decadence and Other Plays (1985) 118: I gave up flogging bent gear in Oxford Street after that.
[UK](con. 1960s) A. Frewin London Blues 81: I know dockers are pretty highly paid but I suspect our Reg also does a bit of dealing in bent goods.

6. considered as sexually eccentric, esp. homosexual; as half-bent, bisexual.

[UK]C. MacInnes Absolute Beginners 54: Not bent at all, though I had hopes that perhaps he dabbled.
[UK] in G. Westwood A Minority 99: I think I’ll always be bent, but perhaps half-bent. All my mates are normal. I like sex with queers. [Ibid.] 208: Bent adj. [...] half-bent meaning bisexual.
[UK]T. Keyes All Night Stand 7: Nobody could be more sweet and have such a bent mind.
[US]L. Sanders Anderson Tapes 97: [I] found out he was bent, sex-wise [...] Whips.
[US]L. Kramer Faggots 16: The straight and narrow, so beloved of our founding fathers and all fathers thereafter, is now obviously and irrevocably bent.
[UK]S. Berkoff Decadence in Decadence and Other Plays (1985) 12: It doesn’t make you bent as a hairpin / to indulge sometimes in a little sin.
[US]H. Harrison Bill [...] on the Planet of Robot Slaves (1991) 176: Are you kinky or bent, Bill?
[UK]D. Jarman letter 12 Mar. Smiling in Slow Motion (2000) 94: Pat had a soft spot for bent aristocracy.
[Ire]P. Howard The Joy (2015) [ebook] Look, I’ve never been with a man in me life. Well, then, how do you know you’re not bent? How can you know unless you try it?
[US]J. McCourt ‘Vilja de Tanquay Exults’ in Queer Street 293: Mum had too, / A thing for yanks [...] / So did my poor bent dad and a big thing too.
[Aus]M.B. ‘Chopper’ Read Chopper 4 138: [of women] It might give some of the bent bitches a thrill.
[US](con. 1962) J. Ellroy Enchanters 231: I’m looking to bait some bent motherfuckers.

7. (orig. US) eccentric, acting oddly, behaving in a strange manner.

[US]Current Sl. (1967) I:4 3/2: Bent, adj. Uninhibited, mad, or insane.
[Aus]Lette & Carey Puberty Blues 118: Yews chicks are bent [...] fuckin’ bent.
[US]C. Hiaasen Double Whammy (1990) 158: [He] had skinned him like a mackerel and tried to sell the fillets [...] It was one of those cases so bent as to be threatened by the sheer weight of law-enforcement bureacracy.
[US]A. Vachss Hard Candy (1990) 92: You’re a fucking nutcase yourself, Burke [...] Yeah, you’re bent.
[Aus]R.G. Barratt ‘What Are You Laughing At?’ in What Do You Reckon (1997) [ebook] But being a bit bent, I like bent humour, and for bent humour it’s hard to go past cartoonist Gary Larson,.
[US]E. Little Another Day in Paradise 206: ‘Are we nuts?’ ‘Yeah, baby, fuckin’ bent.’.
[US]J. Stahl Plainclothes Naked (2002) 123: A bent, beautiful, edge-of-your-seat genius female.
[Aus]L. Redhead Thrill City [ebook] The straight world thought I was too bent and the bent world assumed I was too big for my thigh-high boots.
[US]C. Hiaasen Squeeze Me 271: The man was seriously bent, but [...] also high-functioning.

8. (US) angry, excited; usu. in phr. bent out of shape ; also as vtr., to anger, to effect emotionally.

[US]B. Jackson Get Your Ass in the Water (1974) 132: Now this happened at a time when I didn’t have one cent. / I beat my way to Frisco and my mind was [?] and bent.
[US]Current Sl. II:2 5: Bent, adj. Angry or extremely displeased.
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Nov. 2: get bent – expression of anger/and or annoyance, either playful or serious.
[US]T. Piccirilli Last Kind Words 9: I hung up on his smile and let out a hiss that steamed the glass. Already he’d bent me out of shape.
[US]T. Piccirilli Last Kind Words 231: Wes kept mostly clear of the scene, popping over only every once in a while to make sure nobody was getting too badly bent out of shape.
[US]D.B. Flowers Bangs 318: Bangs was bent about losing the car and the cocaine—which he said was some of the best shit he’d ever had.

9. in weak form of sense 5, weak, emotional.

[Ire]P. Howard Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nightdress 145: What I really wished for was that [...] we’d live, like, happily ever after, roysh, but I didn’t say that because it sounded too bent.

In compounds

bent shot (n.)

a homosexual.

[UK]D. O’Donnell Locked Ward (2013) 314: ‘You a poof?’ [...] ‘I don’t like that word’ [...] ‘Well what word dae ye want us tae use? Bender? Bent shot?’.

In phrases

bent as a butcher’s hook (adj.) (also bent as a bootlace)

extremely corrupt, highly criminal.

[UK]‘Charles Raven’ Und. Nights 45: You was born bent as a bootlace, boy!
[UK]D. Powis Signs of Crime 173: Bent as a butcher’s hook Stolen or dishonest.
bent as a dog’s hind leg (adj.)

highly corrupt.

[UK]‘Red Collar Man’ ‘Chokey’ 196: I tell you he’s as bent as a dog’s hind leg.
bent as a nine-bob note (adj.)

1. (also bent as a forty-eight pence piece) of a person, dishonest or of an object, stolen.

I. Scarlet Prostitutes 59: ‘Bent as a nine-bob note, I am’, he admits without any trace of either shame or bravado. ‘Need the money, don’t I?’.
[UK]A. Payne ‘You Need Hands’ Minder [TV script] 45: Selling diamonds in some field at dawn, that has to be as bent as a nine bob note, and I don’t wish to be associated.
T. Lambrianou Inside the Firm [ebook] The heavy one [i.e. police officer]was an outandout bruiser who was as bent as a nine bob note, as was publicly proven later.
[Scot]I. Welsh Glue 54: Eh reckons Pender’s as bent as a forty-eight pence piece.
P. Williams Scum 61: Jesus fuckin’ Christ, he made a mint! Bent as a nine bob note, he was, 'im the boss and all!
[UK]J. Meades Empty Wigs (t/s) 132: She bears the queers of the future [...] who will in their turn spawn heirs born bent as a nine bob note.

2. homosexual.

[UK]J.J. Connolly Layer Cake 176: ‘Crazy Larry was the other way?’ [...] ‘Bent as a nine-bob note.’.
[UK]J.J. Connolly Viva La Madness 47: You’d bet your bollocks he was an iron, bent as a nine-bob note.
bent as a two-bob watch (adj.)

1. (Aus.) extremely corrupt.

[Aus]B. Humphries Traveller’s Tool 22: Name another world power where the police aren’t as bent as a two-bob watch.
J. Burdett Last Six Million Seconds 37: Those Red coastguards have always been the lowest of the low. They’re all as bent as a two-bob watch.

2. homosexual.

P. McDowell Dope Opera 148: Knocking Ruth up just before he’d decided he was as bent as a two bob watch.
bent out of shape (adj.)

1. intoxicated by a drug, esp. cannabis or LSD, or extremely drunk.

[US]Current Sl. I:3 1/1: Bent out of shape adj. Extremely intoxicated.
[US]E.E. Landy Underground Dict. (1972).

2. very angry.

[US]Current Sl. III:4 4: Bent out of shape, adj. Angry; dissatisfied.
[US]R. Price Blood Brothers 175: I feel like really bent outta shape about somethin’.
[US]A. Maupin More Tales of the City (1984) 215: Was she bent out of shape?
[US]K. Scott Monster (1994) 46: She had been totally bent out of shape by the fact that I had gotten a civilian pregnant.
[UK]M. Collins Keepers of Truth 119: I’d never seen a guy so bent out of shape like that over nothing.
[US]C. Eble (ed.) UNC-CH Campus Sl. 2011.
[US]N. Walker Cherry 248: [L]ater, when Roy had stolen from us, Emily was real bent out of shape about it.

3. excited, emotionally stressed, concerned.

[US]L. Shecter On the Pad 151: [W]hen a lot of guys get hung in heavy, get bent out of shape, they blow the whistle on a joint.
[US]K. Anderson Night Dogs 62: ‘Some of ’em must have gotten pretty bent out of shape over there’ [i.e. Vietnam].
[US]26 Mar. NY Times 🌐 ‘This is not something that the general public needs to get bent out of shape about,’ said Jessica Stone Levy, a Denver-based trademark lawyer.
[US]S.A. Crosby Razorblade Tears 113: ‘I just can’t see Derek getting all bent out of shape because a biker’s old lady got dumped’.
go bent (v.) (UK Und./prison)

1. to become corrupt.

[UK]F. Norman Fings II i: On top of all this bovva, me accountant goes right bent.
[UK]P. Laurie Scotland Yard 254: And then they could go bent on us - I hope most policemen would laugh at £500, but they might not.

2. to turn to criminality.

[UK]‘Charles Raven’ Und. Nights 41: Much thought is given to the causes of crime: i.e. why blokes go bent.

3. to let down, to desert.

[UK]F/ Norman Stand on Me 163: Bert began to get the needle about having taught me all the tricks of the trade, and tried to persuade me that it was a matter of honour that I didn't go bent on him.
[UK]F. Norman Norman’s London 132: I sat on the bed wondering how long I was going to get this time, and [...] if they would go bent on me and oppose bail.
[UK]F. Norman Too Many Crooks Spoil the Caper 155: S’long as yuh ain’t finkin of going bent on me, mate.
[UK]J. Morton Lowspeak 23: to go bent – to inform or turn Queen’s Evidence. As in ‘Tom’s gone bent on us’.

4. of one’s girlfriend, to take up with someone else.

[UK]Partridge DSUE (8th edn) 71/1: since ca.1920.

5. (Aus.) to go wrong, to fail.

[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 5927-5935 84/2: Mulberry Street nick has had a string of drug raids go bent on it.

SE in slang uses

In phrases

take the bent stick (v.)

of a woman who may no longer be easily marriageable, to abandon one’s hopes of a perfect partner, substituting instead an elderly but constant admirer.

[UK]Partridge DSUE (8th edn) 1199: [...] earlier C.20.

In exclamations

get bent!

(US campus) a general excl. of dismissal or contempt.

[US]Current Sl. III–V (Cumulation Issue).
[US](con. 1950s) H. Junker ‘The Fifties’ in Eisen Age of Rock 2 (1970) 100: Don’t give me any grief. You want a knuckle sandwich. Get Bent.
[US]R. Price Ladies’ Man (1985) 242: ‘I thought you found somebody.’ ‘Get bent.’.
[US]S. King Christine 133: ‘Get bent,’ he said, and hung up.
[US]Alt. Eng. Dict. 🌐 get bent get fucked Said in a derogatory way. Why don’t you go get bent!
[US]J. Ellroy ‘Hot-Prowl Rape-O’ in Destination: Morgue! (2004) 299: Donna flipped her-him the finger. Get bent and butt out, Butch!