Have you tried making friends with someone just for them to tell you to “get bent”? I know it’s not a very nice thing to have said to you. However, it is a great way to look into how the English language can change and evolve and how some slang terms are much older than many think.
Today, as well as covering what “get bent” means, we’ll be looking at where it comes from and when it was most popular.
What does “get bent” mean?
“Get Bent” means Go Away!
It started off on American College Campuses in the 1960s as a shorthand for “Get bent out of shape”, which meant to get drunk.
Origin of “get bent”
The 1960s seem like ages ago. And to be honest, they were. This was the decade where we first went to the moon, Doctor Who first aired, and the first president since Lincoln was assassinated.
But even way back then, college students were going to parties, getting drunk, and having the time of their lives.
This was when the term “get bent” first arrived on the scene. Although back then, it was only college students who used it, and it wasn’t until later that it became a mainstay in the English language.
What “bent” used to mean
Today, if someone tells you to “get bent”, they are simply telling you to go away. But back then, it was a little more specific than that.
To tell someone to “get bent” would be to say to them that they should leave you alone and instead get absolutely drunk. This is from the fact that to “get bent” means to “get drunk”. People would even say, “Let’s get bent” to show that they intend on getting very drunk.
If you told someone to “get bent”, it was a sign that you weren’t interested in talking to them, and they would be better off enjoying the party by getting wasted.
Why does “bent” mean drunk
This does lead to the critical question of “Why does bent mean drunk?”. In this sense, the word “bent” comes from the phrase “bent out of shape”.
If you imagine a drunk person sleeping, chances are, they aren’t just laying on their backs, on their side, like we do when we’re sober. Most people sleeping drunk are in some bizarre positions.
You could even say that drunk people sleeping look a bit “bent” sometimes even a little “bent out of shape”. Because of the peculiar sleeping positions of drunk people, “bent” became synonymous with drunk.
“Bent” in the UK
In the UK, “bent” can also have a slightly different meaning- a derogatory term for homosexual.
In the 20th century, Hetrosexual was given the colloquial name “straight”. When a gay person wanted to become Heterosexual, they would describe themselves as “going straight”, referring to the “straight and narrow” that many thought Heterosexuality was.
If something is bent, that will mean it’s not straight. Hence why “bent” came to mean “gay”. Thankfully, I know plenty of gays who have reclaimed this word and proudly wear the label “bent”.
Interesting to see how the same word can mean different things in the same language.
Examples of “get bent” from real people
“Lol. Reminds me of the fake Russia bs that you, @CNN and @msnbc pushed for years. #getbent”
“bye bye and get bent lol”.
“Tucker can get bent”.
“He “invoiced” what he was previously agreed to be paid. That’s how jobs work.
You, on the other hand, left Albertans with hundreds of thousands of dollars in wells you walked away from. Who’s the burden on Alberta?
Get bent, you selfish prick.”
“I know he landed in here with some #NotAllMen bullshit we all have to hear every single time women try to have a discussion about male sexual violence, and I know it’s unhelpful and wastes all our time, so….get bent”.
“So u have time to drop controllers and here we are 7 months later and u still don’t have games on the refurbished one x that u called the series x get bent @xbox”.
“I am still laughing at the, “I know he’s your friend” joke. RG is the man and the rest can go get bent!”
“Do I actually care what you think? Hell no. I’ve had police do nothing when I got raped. F*ck police. They don’t help. They kill people. Get bent.”
Alternatives to “get bent”
If you want someone to leave you alone, here are some alternative ways of asking them to leave your company…
Get outta here!
Different areas of all the English speaking countries will most likely have their own ways of telling someone to “go away”. Which one you use will depend on your location, upbringing, class, and other factors.
I would like to write about some politer alternatives, but there is no way of politely telling someone to “go away”.
We still use “get bent”
Even though “get bent” started in the 1960s, it hit its peak popularity in 2015. Ever since then, although it’s used less, it’s still used much more than it was when it first came onto the scene.
The first rise in the usage of “get bent” was in 1971. And in 1987, it had a massive surge where it kept on rising until the 2015 peak.
Unlike other words, the downfall of “get bent” is proving to be very slow.
This is a strong indication that this isn’t just some fad that we’ll forget about soon. It looks like “get bent” is here to stay.
“Get Bent” started in Colleges in the USA in the 1960s, short for “get bent out of shape”- meaning, go away and get drunk.
Over time, it just meant “go away”. And even today, it’s a popular way of telling someone to go and leave you alone.
It looks like it has stood the test of time, and is that weird area between “slang” and “queens English”. It’s not officially in the dictionary, but most English people would know what you mean if you tell someone to “get bent”.
Amazing how a word created by “Frat Bros” when Kennedy was president is now known by people from New York to London.