1590s, "to run or bend in a certain direction" (of rivers, coasts, etc.), from Middle English trenden "to roll about, turn, revolve," from Old English trendan "turn round, revolve, roll," from Proto-Germanic *trandijan (source also of Old English trinde "round lump, ball," Old Frisian trind, Middle Low German trint "round," Middle Low German trent "ring, boundary," Dutch trent "circumference," Danish trind "round"); origin and connections outside Germanic uncertain. Sense of "have a general tendency" (used of events, opinions, etc.) is first recorded 1863, from the nautical sense. Related: Trended; trending.
"the way something bends" (coastline, mountain range, etc.), 1777, earlier "round bend of a stream" (1620s), from trend (v.); sense of "general course or direction" is from 1884. Sense of "a prevailing new tendency in popular fashion or culture" is from c. 1950.