- blondish (adj.)
- 1857, from blond (adj.) + -ish.
- blondness (n.)
- 1842, from blond (adj.) + -ness.
- blood (v.)
- 1590s, "to smeart with blood;" 1620s, "to cause to bleed," from blood (n.). Meaning "to give an animal its first taste of blood" is from 1781. Related: Blooded; blooding.
- blood (n.)
- Old English blod "blood," from Proto-Germanic *blodam "blood" (source also of Old Frisian blod, Old Saxon blôd, Old Norse bloð, Middle Dutch bloet, Dutch bloed, Old High German bluot, German Blut, Gothic bloþ), from PIE *bhlo-to-, perhaps meaning "to swell, gush, spurt," or "that which bursts out" (compare Gothic bloþ "blood," bloma "flower"), in which case it would be from suffixed form of *bhle-, extended form of root *bhel- (3) "to thrive, bloom" (see folio).
There seems to have been an avoidance in Germanic, perhaps from taboo, of other PIE words for "blood," such as *esen- (source of poetic Greek ear, Old Latin aser, Sanskrit asrk, Hittite eshar); also *krew-, which seems to have had a sense of "blood outside the body, gore from a wound" (source of Latin cruour "blood from a wound," Greek kreas "meat"), which came to mean simply "blood" in the Balto-Slavic group and some other languages.
Inheritance and relationship senses (also found in Latin sanguis, Greek haima) emerged in English by mid-13c. Meaning "person of one's family, race, kindred" is late 14c. As the seat of passions, it is recorded from c. 1300. Slang meaning "hot spark, a man of fire" [Johnson] is from 1560s. Blood pressure attested from 1862. Blood money is from 1530s; originally money paid for causing the death of another.
Blood type is from 1928. That there were different types of human blood was discovered c. 1900 during early experiments in transfusion. To get blood from a stone "do the impossible" is from 1660s. Expression blood is thicker than water attested by 1803, in reference to family ties of those separated by distance. New (or fresh) blood, in reference to members of an organization or group is from 1880.
- blood-curdling (adj.)
- also bloodcurdling, 1817, from blood (n.) + present participle of curdle. Also formerly with a noun form, bloodcurdler "incident which freezes the blood," especially "sensational story," 1877, slang; also in use in this sense was blood-freezer (1886).
- blood-letting (n.)
- also bloodletting, early 13c., blod letunge, from blood (n.) + letting. Hyphenated from 17c., one word from mid-19c. Old English had blodlæte "blood-letting."
- blood-red (adj.)
- Old English blodread; see blood (n.) + red (adj.1).
- blood-stained (adj.)
- 1590s, from blood (n.) + past participle of stain (v.).
- bloodhound (n.)
- also blood-hound, type of large dog used in hunting, c. 1300, from blood (n.) + hound (n.).
- bloodily (adv.)
- 1560s, from bloody + -ly (2).
- bloodiness (n.)
- 1590s, from bloody (adj.) + -ness.
- bloodless (adj.)
- Old English blodleas; see blood (n.) + -less. The figurative sense in Middle English was "powerless." Related: Bloodlessly.
- bloodlust (n.)
- 1847 (Bulwer Lytton), also blood-lust, from blood (n.) + lust (n.).
- bloodshed (n.)
- also blood-shed, c. 1500, "the shedding of (one's) blood," from verbal phrase (attested in late Old English), from blood (n.) + shed (v.). The sense of "slaughter" is much older (early 13c., implied in bloodshedding).
- bloodshot (adj.)
- also blood-shot, 1550s, short for bloodshotten (c. 1500), from blood (n.) + old past participle of shoot.
- bloodstream (n.)
- also blood-stream, 1847, from blood (n.) + stream (n.).
- bloodsucker (n.)
- also blood-sucker, late 14c., of animals, from blood (n.) + sucker (n.); in the figurative sense, of persons, it is attested from 1660s.
- bloodthirsty (adj.)
- also blood-thirsty, 1530s (Coverdale, Psalms xxv.9), from blood (n.) + thirsty (adj.). Ancient Greek had a similar image in haimodipsos. Related: Bloodthirstiness.
- bloody (v.)
- 1520s, from bloody (adj.). Related: Bloodied; bloodying. Old English had blodigan "to make bloody," but the modern word seems to be a later formation.
- bloody (adj.)
- Old Engish blodig, adjective from blod (see blood). Common Germanic, compare Old Frisian blodich, Old Saxon blôdag, Dutch bloedig, Old High German bluotag, German blutig.
It has been a British intensive swear word since at least 1676. Weekley relates it to the purely intensive use of the cognate Dutch bloed, German Blut. But perhaps it ultimately is connected with bloods in the slang sense of "rowdy young aristocrats" (see blood (n.)) via expressions such as bloody drunk "as drunk as a blood."
Partridge reports that it was "respectable" before c. 1750, and it was used by Fielding and Swift, but heavily tabooed c. 1750-c. 1920, perhaps from imagined association with menstruation; Johnson calls it "very vulgar," and OED writes of it, "now constantly in the mouths of the lowest classes, but by respectable people considered 'a horrid word', on par with obscene or profane language."
The onset of the taboo against bloody coincides with the increase in linguistic prudery that presaged the Victorian Era but it is hard to say what the precise cause was in the case of this specific word. Attempts have been made to explain the term's extraordinary shock power by invoking etymology. Theories that derive it from such oaths as "By our Lady" or "God's blood" seem farfetched, however. More likely, the taboo stemmed from the fear that many people have of blood and, in the minds of some, from an association with menstrual bleeding. Whatever, the term was debarred from polite society during the whole of the nineteenth century. [Rawson]
Shaw shocked theatergoers when he put it in the mouth of Eliza Doolittle in "Pygmalion" (1914), and for a time the word was known euphemistically as "the Shavian adjective." It was avoided in print as late as 1936. Bloody Sunday, Jan. 30, 1972, when 13 civilians were killed by British troops at protest in Londonderry, Northern Ireland.
- Bloody Mary
- the cocktail, attested from 1953 (originally touted in part as a hangover cure), said to be named for Mary Tudor, queen of England 1553-58, who earned her epithet for vigorous prosecution of Protestants. The drink earned its, apparently, simply for being red from tomato juice. The cocktail's popularity also concided with that of the musical "South Pacific," which has a character named "Bloody Mary."
- blooey (n.)
- "ruin, smash," 1915, U.S. slang, probably imitative.
- bloom (v.)
- mid-13c., blomen, from the noun (see bloom (n.1)). Related: Bloomed; blooming.
- bloom (n.1)
- "blossom of a plant," c. 1200, a northern word, from a Scandinavian source akin to Old Norse blomi "flower, blossom," also collectively "flowers and foliage on trees;" from Proto-Germanic *blomon (source also of Old Saxon blomo, Middle Dutch bloeme, Dutch bloem, Old High German bluomo, German Blume, Gothic bloma), from PIE *bhle- (source also of Old Irish blath "blossom, flower," Latin flos "flower," florere "to blossom, flourish"), extended form of root *bhel- (3) "to thrive, bloom" (see folio). Related to Old English blowan "to flower" (see blow (v.2)).
Transferred sense, of persons, is from c. 1300; meaning "state of greatest loveliness" is from early 14c.; that of "blush on the cheeks" is from 1752. Old English had cognate bloma, but only in the figurative sense of "state of greatest beauty;" the main word in Old English for "flower" was blostm (see blossom).
- bloom (n.2)
- "rough mass of wrought iron," from Old English bloma "lump of metal; mass," which is of unknown origin. Identical in form to bloom (n.1), and sometimes regarded as a secondary sense of it, but evidence of a connection is wanting.
- bloomer (n.)
- 1730, agent noun from bloom (v.).
- bloomers (n.)
- 1851, named for U.S. feminist reformer Amelia Jenks Bloomer (1818-1894), who promoted them. The surname is attested from c. 1200, said to mean literally "iron-worker," from Old English bloma (see bloom (n.2)).
- blooming (adj.)
- late 14c., present participle adjective from bloom (v.). Meaning "full-blown" (often a euphemism for bloody) is attested from 1882.
- 1910, in reference to the set of Bohemian writers, artists, and intellectuals (including E.M. Forster, Virginia Woolf, Vanessa and Clive Bell, John Maynard Keynes) centered on Lytton Strachey; so called from the London neighborhood where several lived and worked.
Women in love with buggers and buggers in love with womanizers, I don't know what the world is coming to. [Lytton Strachey]
The place name is recorded 1291 as Blemondesberi "manor held by the Blemond family," from Blémont in France. It was laid out for housing in 17c., fashionable from 18c.
- bloop (n.)
- 1931, from bloop (v.), 1926, a word from the early days of radio (see blooper). Related: Blooped; blooping.
- blooper (n.)
- "blunder," 1943, apparently first in theater, from American English baseball slang meaning "a fly ball in a high arc missed by the fielder" (1937) or else from the earlier sense "radio receiver that interferes with nearby sets" when a careless operator throws it into oscillation (1926), in which case it imitates the resulting sound.
- blossom (v.)
- late 14c., from Old English blostmian, from blostma "blossom, flower" (see blossom (n.)). Figurative use from late 14c. Related: Blossomed; blossoming.
- blossom (n.)
- c. 1200, from Old English blostm, blostma "blossom, flower, fruit," from Proto-Germanic *blo-s- (source also of Middle Low German blosom, Dutch bloesem, German Blust), from PIE *bhlow-, extended form of *bhel- (3) "to thrive, bloom" (see folio). This is the native word, now largely superseded by bloom (n.1) and flower (n.).
- blot (v.)
- early 15c., "to make blots;" mid-15c. "to blot out, obliterate" (words), from blot (n.). Related: Blotted; blotting.
- blot (n.)
- late 14c., originally "blemish," perhaps from Old Norse blettr "blot, stain," or from Old French blot, variant of bloc "block," or blestre "blister, lump, clump of earth."
- blotch (n.)
- c. 1600, perhaps a blend of blot and botch or patch.
- blotchy (adj.)
- 1799, from blotch + -y (2). Related: Blotchiness.
- blotter (n.)
- 1590s, "thing for drying wet spots," agent noun from blot (v.). Meaning "bad writer" is from c. 1600. Sense of "day book" is from 1670s, and the word was applied early 19c. to rough drafts, scrap books, notebooks, and draft account books. Hence the police jargon sense "arrest record sheet," recorded from 1887.
- blotting (n.)
- mid-15c., verbal noun from blot (v.). Blotting paper is recorded from 1510s.
- blotto (adj.)
- "drunk," c. 1905, from some signification of blot (v.) in its "soak up liquid" meaning.
- blouse (n.)
- 1828 (from 1822 as a French word in English), from French blouse, "workman's or peasant's smock" (1788), origin unknown. Perhaps akin to Provençal (lano) blouso "short (wool)" [Gamillscheg]. Another suggestion [Klein] is that it is from Medieval Latin pelusia, from Pelusium, a city in Upper Egypt, supposedly a clothing manufacturing center in the Middle Ages.
In Paris, a very slovenly, loose, drawn frock, with most capacious sleeves, had been introduced called a blouse. Some of our priestesses of the toilet seemed emulous of copying this deshabille, with some slight alterations, but we never wish to see it on the symmetrical form of a British lady. ["Summary of Fashion for 1822," in "Museum of Foreign Literature and Science," Jan.-June 1823]
- bloviate (v.)
- 1857, American English, a Midwestern word for "to talk aimlessly and boastingly; to indulge in 'high falutin'," according to Farmer (1890), who seems to have been the only British lexicographer to notice it. He says it was based on blow (v.) on the model of deviate, etc.
It seems to have been felt as outdated slang already by late 19c. ("It was a leasure for him to hear the Doctor talk, or, as it was inelegantly expressed in the phrase of the period, 'bloviate' ...." ["Overland Monthly," San Francisco, 1872, describing a scene from 1860]), but it enjoyed a revival early 1920s during the presidency of Warren G. Harding, who wrote a notoriously ornate and incomprehensible prose (e.e. cummings eulogized him as "The only man, woman or child who wrote a simple declarative sentence with seven grammatical errors") at which time the word took on its connection with political speech; it faded again thereafter, but, with its derivative, bloviation, it enjoyed a revival in the 2000 U.S. election season that continued through the era of blogging.
- bloviation (n.)
- "pompous oratory," 1857; noun of action; see bloviate.
- blow (n.2)
- "a blowing, a blast," 1650s, from blow (v.1).
- blow (v.1)
- "move air," Old English blawan "blow, breathe, make an air current; kindle; inflate; sound a wind instrument" (class VII strong verb; past tense bleow, past participle blawen), from Proto-Germanic *blæ-anan (source of Old High German blaen, German blähen), from PIE *bhle- "to swell, blow up" (source of Latin flare "to blow"), an extended form, possibly identical with *bhel- (2) "to blow, swell" (see bole).
Meaning "to squander" (of money) is from 1874. Sense of "depart suddenly" is from 1902. Slang "do fellatio on" sense is from 1933, as blow (someone) off, originally among prostitutes (compare blow job). This usage probably is not connected to the colloquial imprecation (1781, associated with sailors, as in Popeye's "well, blow me down!"), which has past participle blowed. Meaning "to spend (money) foolishly and all at once" is 1890s; that of "bungle an opportunity" is from 1943. To blow over "pass" is from 1610s, originally of storms. To blow (someone's) mind was in use by 1967; there is a song title "Blow Your Mind" released in a 1965 Mirawood recording by a group called The Gas Company.
- blow (v.2)
- "to bloom, blossom" (intransitive), from Old English blowan "to flower, blossom, flourish," from Proto-Germanic *blæ- (source also of Old Saxon bloian, Old Frisian bloia, Middle Dutch and Dutch bloeien, Old High German bluoen, German blühen), from PIE *bhle-, extended form of *bhel- (2) "to blow, inflate, swell" (see bole). This word is the source of the blown in full-blown.
- blow (n.1)
- "hard hit," mid-15c., blowe, from northern and East Midlands dialects, perhaps from Middle Dutch blouwen "to beat," a common Germanic word of unknown origin (compare German bleuen, Gothic bliggwan "to strike"). Influenced in English by blow (v.1). In reference to descriptions or accounts, blow-by-blow is recorded from 1921, American English, originally of prize-fight broadcasts.
LIKE a hungry kitten loves its saucer of warm milk, so do radio fans joyfully listen to the blow-by-blow broadcast description of a boxing bout. ["The Wireless Age," December 1922]
- blow job (n.)
- also blowjob, 1961, from blow + job. Exactly which blow is meant is the subject of some debate; the word might have begun as a euphemism for suck (thus from blow (v.1)), or it might refer to the explosive climax of an orgasm (thus blow (v.2)). Unlike much sex slang, its date of origin probably is pretty close to the date it first is attested in print: as recently as the early 1950s, military pilots could innocently talk of their jet planes as blow jobs according to the "Thesaurus of American Slang." Compare blow (v.1).
- blow out (n.)
- also blowout, 1825, American English colloquial, "outburst, brouhaha" (what, in modern use, would be called a blow up), from blow (v.1) + out. Meaning "abundant feast" is recorded from 1824; that of "flat tire" is from 1908.
- blow up (v.)
- "explode," 1590s, from blow (v.1) + up (adv.). As a noun, it is recorded from 1809 in the sense "outburst, quarrel." Meaning "enlargement from a photograph" is attested by 1945. Old English had an adjective upablawan "upblown," used of a volcano, etc.