make do and mend

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Board of Trade poster


From the title of a booklet issued by the UK Ministry of Information.


  • IPA(key): /ˈmeɪk ˈduː ən ˈmɛnd/


make do and mend (third-person singular simple present makes do and mends, present participle making do and mending, simple past and past participle made do and mended)

  1. (Britain) To follow a philosophy, during World War II, of repairing clothes etc that would normally be discarded due to shortages and rationing.
    • 2000 Ina Zweiniger-Bargielowska - Austerity in Britain: Rationing, Controls, and Consumption, 1939-1955
      The 'make do and mend' campaign was the Board of Trade's central propaganda effort directed at housewives. It gave advice on preservation, renovation, and repair of clothing and other household goods.
  2. (Britain, idiomatic) Generally, to repair and reuse.
  3. (Britain, idiomatic) To make the best of a situation.