Fender is the US English term for the part of an automobile, motorcycle or other vehicle body that frames a wheel well. Its primary purpose is to prevent sand, mud, rocks, and liquids from being thrown into the air by the rotating tire. Fenders are typically rigid and can be damaged by contact with the road surface. Instead flexible mud flaps are used close to the ground where contact may be possible.
Government Printing Office The Official Gazette of the United States Patent Office (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1895)