blanch (v.2) Look up blanch at Dictionary.com
"to start back, turn aside," 1570s, variant of blench. Related: Blanched; blanching.
Blanche Look up Blanche at Dictionary.com
fem. proper name, from French Blanche, from Old French blanc "white," of Germanic origin (see blank (adj.)). A fairly popular name for girls born in the U.S. from about 1880 to 1900.
blancmange (n.) Look up blancmange at Dictionary.com
late 14c., from Old French blancmengier (13c.), literally "white eating," originally a dish of fowl minced with cream, rice, almonds, sugar, eggs, etc.; from blanc "white" (also used in Old French of white foods, such as eggs, cream, also white meats such as veal and chicken; see blank (adj.)) + mangier "to eat" (see manger).
bland (adj.) Look up bland at Dictionary.com
1660s, from Italian blando "delicate," or Old French bland "flattering, complimentary," both from Latin blandus "smooth-talking, flattering, alluring," perhaps from PIE *mlad-, nasalized variant of *meld-, extended form of root *mel- (1) "soft." Related: Blandly; blandness. Latin also had blandiloquentulus "flattering in speech," which might have yielded a useful English *blandiloquent.
blandish (v.) Look up blandish at Dictionary.com
c. 1300, from Old French blandiss-, present participle stem of blandir "to flatter, caress," from Latin blandiri "flatter, soothe, caress, coax," from blandus "smooth-talking, flattering, alluring," perhaps from PIE root *mel- (1) "soft." OED reports it rare in 17c., 18c. Related: Blandished; blandishing.
blandishment (n.) Look up blandishment at Dictionary.com
"flattering speech," 1590s, from blandish + -ment. Sense of "attraction, allurement" (often blandishments) is from 1590s.
blank (n.) Look up blank at Dictionary.com
late 14c. as the name of a small French coin; 1550s as "white space in the center of a target," from the same source as blank (adj.). Meaning "empty space" (in a document, etc.) is from c. 1570. Meaning "losing lottery ticket" (1560s) is behind the expression draw a blank. The word has been "for decorum's sake, substituted for a word of execration" [OED] from 1854. From 1896 as short for blank cartridge (itself from 1826).
blank (v.) Look up blank at Dictionary.com
1540s, "to nonplus, disconcert, shut up;" 1560s, "to frustrate," from blank (adj.). Sports sense of "defeat (another team) without allowing a score" is from 1870. Meaning "to become blank or empty" is from 1955. Related: Blanked; blanking.
blank (adj.) Look up blank at Dictionary.com
early 13c., "white, pale, colorless," from Old French blanc "white, shining," from Frankish *blank "white, gleaming," or some other West Germanic source (compare Old Norse blakkr, Old English blanca "white horse;" Old High German blanc, blanch; German blank "shining, bright"), from Proto-Germanic *blangkaz "to shine, dazzle," extended form of PIE root *bhel- (1) "to shine, flash, burn," also "shining white."

Meaning "having empty spaces" evolved c. 1400. Sense of "void of expression" (a blank look) is from 1550s. Spanish blanco, Italian bianco are said to be from Germanic. Related: Blankly, blankness.
blank verse (n.) Look up blank verse at Dictionary.com
1580s; the thing itself is attested in English poetry from mid-16c. and is classical in origin.
blanket (v.) Look up blanket at Dictionary.com
c. 1600, "to cover with or as with a blanket;" also "to toss in a blanket" (as punishment), from blanket (n.). Related: Blanketed; blanketing.
blanket (n.) Look up blanket at Dictionary.com
c. 1300, "bed-clothing; white woolen stuff," from Old French blanchet "light wool or flannel cloth; an article made of this material," diminutive of blanc "white" (see blank (adj.), which had a secondary sense of "a white cloth." Wet blanket (1830) is from the notion of a person who throws a damper on social situations like a wet blanket smothers a fire. In U.S. history, a blanket Indian (1859) was one using the traditional garment instead of wearing Western dress.
Only 26,000 blanket Indians are left in the United States. ["Atlantic Monthly," March 1906]
blare (v.) Look up blare at Dictionary.com
late 14c., bleren "to wail," possibly from an unrecorded Old English *blæren, or from Middle Dutch bleren "to bleat, cry, bawl, shout." Probably echoic, either way. Related: Blared; blaring. As a noun from 1809, from the verb.
blaring (adj.) Look up blaring at Dictionary.com
mid-15c., from present participle of blare. Of things other than sounds, from 1866.
blarney (n.) Look up blarney at Dictionary.com
1796, from Blarney Stone (which is said to make a persuasive flatterer of any who kiss it), in a castle near Cork, Ireland. As Bartlett explains it, the reason is the difficulty of the feat of kissing the stone where it sits high up in the battlement: "to have ascended it, was proof of perseverence, courage, and agility, whereof many are supposed to claim the honor who never achieved the adventure." So to have kissed the Blarney Stone came to mean "to tell wonderful tales" ["Dictionary of Americanisms," 1848]. The word reached wide currency through Lady Blarney, the smooth-talking flatterer in Goldsmith's "Vicar of Wakefield" (1766). As a verb from 1803.
blase (adj.) Look up blase at Dictionary.com
"bored from overindulgence," 1819, from French blasé, past participle of blaser "to satiate" (17c.), which is of unknown origin. Perhaps from Dutch blazen "to blow" (ultimately from PIE root *bhle- "to blow"), with a sense of "puffed up under the effects of drinking."
blaspheme (v.) Look up blaspheme at Dictionary.com
mid-14c., from Old French blasfemer "to blaspheme" (14c., Modern French blasphémer), from Church Latin blasphemare (also in Late Latin "revile, reproach"), from Greek blasphemein "to speak lightly or amiss of sacred things, to slander," from blasphemos "evil-speaking" (see blasphemy). A reintroduction after the original word had been worn down and sense-shifted to blame (v.). Related: Blasphemed; blaspheming.
blasphemous (adj.) Look up blasphemous at Dictionary.com
early 15c., blasfemous, from Old French blasfemeus or directly from Late Latin blasphemus, from blasphemare (see blaspheme).
blasphemy (n.) Look up blasphemy at Dictionary.com
early 13c., from Old French blasfemie "blasphemy," from Late Latin blasphemia, from Greek blasphemia "a speaking ill, impious speech, slander," from blasphemein "to speak evil of." Second element is pheme "utterance," from PIE root *bha- (2) "to speak, tell, say;" first element uncertain, perhaps related to blaptikos "hurtful," though blax "slack (in body and mind), stupid" also has been suggested; de Vaan suggests a connection with the root of Latin malus "bad, unpleasant" (see mal-).
blast (v.) Look up blast at Dictionary.com
Old English blæstan "to blow, belch forth," from the root of blast (n.). Since 16c., often "to breathe on balefully." Meaning "to blow up by explosion" is from 1758. Related: Blasted; blasting. Blast off (n.) is attested from 1950.
blast (n.) Look up blast at Dictionary.com
Old English blæst "blowing, breeze, puff of wind," from Proto-Germanic *bles- (source also of Old Norse blastr, Old High German blast "a blowing, blast," German blasen, Gothic blesan "to blow"), from PIE root *bhle- "to blow."

Meaning "explosion" is from 1630s; that of "noisy party, good time" is from 1953, American English slang. Sense of "strong current of air for iron-smelting" (1690s) led to blast furnace and transferred sense in full blast "the extreme" (1839). Blast was the usual word for "a smoke of tobacco" c. 1600.
blasted (adj.) Look up blasted at Dictionary.com
"stricken by malignant forces (natural or supernatural), cursed, blighted," 1550s, from blast (v.), with the notion of "balefully breathed upon." In the sense of "cursed, damned" it is attested from 1680s. Meaning "drunk or stoned" dates from 1972 (blast (v.) "smoke marijuana" attested from 1959).
blastema (n.) Look up blastema at Dictionary.com
1849, Modern Latin, from Greek blastema "offspring, offshoot," from stem of blastanein "to shoot forth," from blastos "sprout, germ," which is of unknown origin. Related: Blastemal.
blasto- Look up blasto- at Dictionary.com
before vowels blast-, word-forming element used in scientific compounds to mean "germ, bud," from Greek blasto-, comb. form of blastos "sprout, germ," which is of unknown origin.
blastocyst (n.) Look up blastocyst at Dictionary.com
1876, from blasto- + cyst.
blastula (n.) Look up blastula at Dictionary.com
embryonic state, 1875, Modern Latin, from Greek blastos "sprout, germ" + diminutive ending -ula (see -ule).
blat (v.) Look up blat at Dictionary.com
1846, U.S. colloquial, imitative. Related: Blatted; blatting. As a noun from 1904.
blatant (adj.) Look up blatant at Dictionary.com
1596, in blatant beast, coined by Edmund Spenser in "The Faerie Queen" to describe a thousand-tongued monster representing slander; probably suggested by Latin blatire "to babble." It entered general use 1650s, as "noisy in an offensive and vulgar way;" the sense of "obvious, glaringly conspicuous" is from 1889. Related: Blatantly.
blather (n.) Look up blather at Dictionary.com
1787, from blather (v.).
blather (v.) Look up blather at Dictionary.com
1520s, Scottish, probably from a Scandinavian source such as Old Norse blaðra "mutter, wag the tongue," perhaps of imitative origin, or from Proto-Germanic *blodram "something blown up" (see bladder). Related: Blathered; blathering.
blatherskite (n.) Look up blatherskite at Dictionary.com
c. 1650, bletherskate, in Scottish song "Maggie Lauder," which was popular with soldiers in the Continental Army in the American Revolution, hence the colloquial U.S. use for "talkative fellow, foolish talk," especially in early 19c. From blather (v.) + dialectal skite "contemptible person."
blaxploitation (n.) Look up blaxploitation at Dictionary.com
1972, from black + exploitation.
blaze (v.1) Look up blaze at Dictionary.com
"to burn brightly or vigorously," c. 1200, from blaze (n.1). Related: Blazed; blazing.
blaze (v.3) Look up blaze at Dictionary.com
"to mark" (a tree, a trail), 1750, American English; see blaze (n.2).
blaze (n.2) Look up blaze at Dictionary.com
"light-colored mark or spot," 1630s, northern English dialect, probably from Old Norse blesi "white spot on a horse's face" (from the same root as blaze (n.1)). A Low German cognate of the Norse word also has been suggested as the source. Applied 1660s in American English to marks cut on tree trunks to indicate a track; thus the verb meaning "to mark a trail;" first recorded 1750, American English. Related: Blazed; blazing.
blaze (v.2) Look up blaze at Dictionary.com
"make public" (often in a bad sense, boastfully), late 14c., perhaps from Middle Dutch blasen "to blow" (on a trumpet), from Proto-Germanic *blaes-an (source also of German blasen, Gothic -blesan), from PIE root *bhle- "to blow."
blaze (n.1) Look up blaze at Dictionary.com
"bright flame, fire," Old English blæse "a torch, flame, firebrand, lamp," from Proto-Germanic *blas- "shining, white" (source also of Old Saxon blas "white, whitish," Middle High German blas "bald," originally "white, shining," Old High German blas-ros "horse with a white spot," Middle Dutch and Dutch bles, German Blesse "white spot," blass "pale, whitish"), from PIE root *bhel- (1) "to shine, flash, burn."
blazer (n.) Look up blazer at Dictionary.com
"bright-colored jacket," 1880, British university slang, from blaze (n.1), in reference to the red flannel jackets worn by the Lady Margaret, St. John College, Cambridge, boating club. Earlier it had been used in American English in the sense "something which attracts attention" (1845).
blazes (n.) Look up blazes at Dictionary.com
euphemism for "Hell," 1818, plural of blaze (n.1).
blazing (adj.) Look up blazing at Dictionary.com
late 14c., "shining," also "vehement," present participle adjective from blaze (v.1). As a mild or euphemistic epithet, attested from 1888 (no doubt connected with the blazes in colloquial sense of "Hell").
blazon (v.) Look up blazon at Dictionary.com
1560s, "to depict or paint (armorial bearings)," from blazon (n.) or else from French blasonner. Earlier as "to set forth decriptively" (1510s); especially "to vaunt or boast" (1530s), in this use probably from or influenced by blaze (v.2).
blazon (n.) Look up blazon at Dictionary.com
"coat of arms," late 13c., from Old French blason (12c.) "a shield, blazon," also "collar bone;" common Romanic (compare Spanish blason, Italian blasone, Portuguese brasao, Provençal blezo, the first two said to be French loan-words); of uncertain origin. OED doubts, on grounds of sense, the connection proposed by 19c. French etymologists to Germanic words related to English blaze (n.1).
bleach (n.) Look up bleach at Dictionary.com
"act of bleaching," 1887; "a bleaching agent," 1898, probably directly from bleach (v.). The Old English noun blæce meant "leprosy;" Late Old English also had blæco "paleness," and Middle English had blech "whitening or bleaching agent."
bleach (v.) Look up bleach at Dictionary.com
Old English blæcan "bleach, whiten," from Proto-Germanic *blaikjan "to make white" (source also of Old Saxon blek, Old Norse bleikr, Dutch bleek, Old High German bleih, German bleich "pale;" Old Norse bleikja, Dutch bleken, German bleichen "to bleach"), from PIE root *bhel- (1) "to shine, flash, burn," also "shining white."

The same root probably produced black; perhaps because both black and white are colorless, or because both are associated with burning. Compare Old English scimian, related to the source of shine (n.), meaning both "to shine" and "to dim, grow dusky, grow dark." Related: Bleached; bleaching.
bleacher (n.) Look up bleacher at Dictionary.com
1540s, "one who bleaches," agent noun from bleach (v.). The "bench for spectators at a sports field" sense (usually bleachers) is attested since 1889, American English; so named because the boards were bleached by the sun.
bleak (adj.) Look up bleak at Dictionary.com
c. 1300, "pale," from Old Norse bleikr "pale, whitish, blond," from Proto-Germanic *blaika- "shining, white," from PIE root *bhel- (1) "to shine, flash, burn," also "shining white." Later "bare, windswept" (1530s). Sense of "cheerless" is c. 1719 figurative extension. The same Germanic root produced Old English blac "pale," but this died out, probably from confusion with blæc "black;" however bleak persisted, with a sense of "bare" as well as "pale."
bleakly (adv.) Look up bleakly at Dictionary.com
1530s, from bleak (adj.) + -ly (2).
bleakness (n.) Look up bleakness at Dictionary.com
c. 1600, from bleak + -ness.
blear (v.) Look up blear at Dictionary.com
"to dim (of vision); to have watery or rheumy eyes," early 14c., of uncertain origin, possibly from an Old English *blerian, from the same source as blear (adj.). Related: Bleared; blearing.
blear (adj.) Look up blear at Dictionary.com
c. 1300, blere "watery, rheumy," perhaps related to blur. Compare Middle High German blerre "having blurred vision."