- A name given to various grasses and some reeds and rushes with upright, rigid stems.
- A place, field or meadow, where such grasses grow.
From the OED:
A word of difficult history. In the sense of ‘stiff-grass’ or ‘grass-stalk’ (in which alone the variant bennet occurs), it appears to be the representative of Old English beonet-, found as a frequent element in proper names, as Beonet-léah Bentley. These names do not show the meaning; but beonet … is phonetically identical with Old High German binuȥ, Middle High German bineȥ, modern German binse ‘rush, reed, stout grass growing in wet places’… But distinct instances of this sense are not found before the 15th cent, while the sense of ‘grassy field or surface’ is common in northern writers from the earliest appearance of northern literature. Whether this is the same word is uncertain: it is possible enough that the plural bents was used for a place where ‘bents’ grew (compare local names like Totley Bents near Sheffield) and that this led to the use of the singular bent as ‘open grassy place.’ They are here united provisionally.
- Totley Bents
Totley, South Yorkshire