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Q. I am enjoying reading the book you coauthored with Dr. W. Eugene Brewer entitled: Your Brain Has a Bent (Not a Dent). It’s a catchy title but where did the word bent come from?

 

A. Questions such as yours can be fun because my brain typically enjoys using the internet to ferret out answers or possible explanations. Some sources indicate that the description of bent as a “mental inclination” is likely from the 1570s, while the description of bent as "directed in a course" is from the 1690s. It goes back much further than that, however.

The Amplified Bible translates Proverbs 22:6 from the Hebrew like this (italics are mine):

“Train up a child in the way he should go (and in keeping with his individual gift or bent) and when he is old he will not depart from it.”

The book of Proverbs is part of the Hebrew Old Testament. According to Wikipedia, the earliest copies of parts of the Hebrew Old Testament were discovered in 1947. Part of the famous Dead Sea Scrolls, they actually date back to the first century BC. This means that bent may be a very old word indeed. And in my brain’s opinion, every brain has a bent. That’s part of what makes each brain unique and interesting.

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