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What’s the Past Tense of Bleed? Bleeded or Bled?

Bleed is in the present tense. Bled is the simple past and the past participle. ‍

Forms of bleed in conversation.
Forms of bleed in conversation.

What’s the past tense of “bleed”?

What’s the past tense of the verb to bleed? Is it bleed, blood, bleeded, bled?‍

The gist: forms of bleed

What does the verb, to bleed, mean? The word bleed comes from the noun blood, which is “the fluid that circulates in the heart, arteries, capillaries, and veins of a vertebrate animal carrying nourishment and oxygen to and bringing away waste products from all parts of the body”, as described by Merriam-Webster, blood.

simpleI bleedI bledI will bleed
continuousI am bleedingI was bleedingI will be bleeding
perfectI have bledI had bledI will have bled
perfect continuousI have been bleedingI had been bleedingI will have been bleeding
Tenses of ‘bleed‘.

1. To bleed is the present tense: Real fans bleed the colours of their sports teams.

2. Bleeds is third-person present singular: My heart bleeds for all the families.

3. Bleeding is the present participle: You’re bleeding!

4. Bled is the simple past: She bled on the carpet.

5. Will bleed is the future tense: If the wound reopens, it will bleed again.

6. Had/have bled is the past participle: The athlete had bled from a cut on his forehead during the game.


Is bleed a regular or irregular verb?

The verb bleed (based on the noun blood) is irregular since it ends in—hold on, bled does end in -ed in its past tense forms—so why is bled still seen as irregular in English?  The difference between regular and irregular verbs is that  regular verbs end in -ed, whereas irregular verbs end in something other than -ed in their past tense and participle forms.

Bled evidently ends in -ed, and is a past tense form of a verb, but it is still irregular. Regular verbs add the -ed to the base verb; bled, on the other hand, is a complete respelling of the simple verb bleed. Bled removes the other inner vowel –e, and changes the pronunciation almost completely. It may as well be an entirely different word. The verb bleed belongs to the class of irregular verbs with 2 different forms. See the chart of other irregular verbs in the same class:  

base verbpast tensepast participle
breedbred bred
Irregular verbs with one past tense.

Bled: simple past vs past participle

Compare the following sentences:

The back of her head bled. (simple past)

The back of her head had bled onto the bedsheets. (past perfect tense)

Though the simple past of bleed (i.e., bled) is the same as its past participle form, what sets them apart is whether there are auxiliaries used in the same sentence, such as had/have/has (in the past perfect and present perfect tenses). Remember that participles always appear in sentences with auxiliary verbs, whereas the simple past tense uses the past tense form without the need of any helper verbs.

Sentences with bleed in the present tense:

1. Doctors used to bleed their patients in an effort to cure them.

2. She’s going to bleed to death!

3. Real fans bleed the colours of their club.

4. My heart bleeds for all the families.

5. Dyes can sometimes bleed when a rug is cleaned.

Sentences with bled in the past simple tense:

1. Frankly, the heart bled for them.

2. On day 8 after infection, mice were anaesthetized and bled as described below.

3. She was alive, though the back of her head bled.

4. You bled on my tie and puked on my shoes.

5. The knife severed an artery and he bled.

Examples of bled as a past participle:

1. The wound had bled profusely before the paramedics arrived.

2. The patient had already bled out by the time they got to the hospital.

3. The steak had bled all over the plate, making it unappetizing.

4. She had bled for several days after the surgery, but it eventually stopped.

5. The athlete had bled from a cut on his forehead during the game.

Origin of the word bleed

From etymology online on bleed (v.):

Old English bledan, “cause to lose blood, to let blood” (in Middle English and after, especially “to let blood from surgically”), also (intransitive) “emit blood,” from Proto-Germanic *blodjan “emit blood”.

Learn more about verbs!


  1. Merriam-Webster, blood.
  2. From etymology online on bleed.

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