blooming (adj.) Look up blooming at
late 14c., "that is in flower, flourishing," present-participle adjective from bloom (v.). Meaning "full-blown" (often a euphemism for bloody) is attested from 1882.
Bloomsbury Look up Bloomsbury at
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 (v.) Look up bloop at
1926, a word from the early days of radio (see blooper). In baseball, "hit a ball in a high arc over the head of a fielder," by 1940. Related: Blooped; blooping. As a noun from 1931.
blooper (n.) Look up blooper at
"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 (compare bloop).
blossom (n.) Look up blossom at
c. 1200, from Old English blostm, blostma "a flower of a plant," from Proto-Germanic *blo-s- (source also of Middle Low German blosom, Dutch bloesem, German Blust), from PIE *bhlow-, extended form of root *bhel- (3) "to thrive, bloom." This is the native word, now largely superseded by bloom (n.1) from Old Norse and flower (n.) from French.
blossom (v.) Look up blossom at
late 14c., from Old English blostmian "put forth blossoms, to flower," from blostma "a blossom, a flower" (see blossom (n.)). Figurative use from late 14c. Related: Blossomed; blossoming.
blot (n.) Look up blot at
late 14c., "a spot or stain of ink;" also "a moral stain or blemish, a disgrace, a sin;" of uncertain origin. Perhaps from Old Norse blettr "blot, stain," or from Old French blot, variant of bloc "block." Middle English Dictionary compares, hesitantly, Old French blo(s)tre, variant of blestre "a boil." From 1570s as "any black or dark patch."
blot (v.) Look up blot at
early 15c., "to make blots (with ink), disfigure with blots," also figurative; mid-15c. "to blot out, obliterate" (words), from blot (n.). Related: Blotted; blotting.
blotch (n.) Look up blotch at
c. 1600, perhaps an extension of blot (n.) by influence of botch or patch. Also from c. 1600 as a verb. Related: Blotched; blotching.
blotchy (adj.) Look up blotchy at
1799, from blotch (n.) + -y (2). Related: Blotchiness.
blotter (n.) Look up blotter at
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 by 1810 to rough drafts, scrap books, notebooks, and draft account books. Hence the police jargon sense "arrest record sheet," recorded from 1887.
The Waste-Book, or Blotter, is nothing different from the Journal, only from the circumstance that it is used in moments of haste during the business of the day, when it is not practicable to observe that precision, neatness, and order, which we wish to appear on our Journal, which is nothing more nor less than a better finished copy of the Blotter itself .... [Lyman Preston, "Preston's Treatise on Book-Keeping," New York, 1835]
blotting (n.) Look up blotting at
mid-15c., verbal noun from blot (v.). Blotting-paper is recorded from 1510s.
blotto (adj.) Look up blotto at
"drunk," c. 1905, from some signification of blot (v.) in its "soak up liquid" meaning.
blouse (n.) Look up blouse at
"light, loose upper garment of linen or cotton," 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. At first a garment worn by French working-men as a protection from dust, etc., later adopted fashionably for women and children, not without objection:
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.) Look up bloviate at
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.1) 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.) Look up bloviation at
"pompous oratory," 1857; noun of action from bloviate (v.).
blow (n.1) Look up blow at
"a hard hit (with a fist)," mid-15c., blaw, blowe, from northern and East Midlands dialects, perhaps from Middle Dutch blouwen "to beat," or an unrecorded Old English cognate. The ordinary Old English word for "to strike" was slean (see slay. A common Germanic word; compare German bleuen, Gothic bliggwan "to strike."

Influenced in English by blow (v.1). Figurative sense of "a sudden shock or calamity" is from 1670s. To come to blows "engage in combat" is from 1650s (fall to blows is from 1590s). In reference to descriptions or accounts, blow-by-blow is recorded from 1921, American English, originally of detailed accounts in 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 (n.2) Look up blow at
"a blowing, a blast of wind," c. 1500, from blow (v.1).
blow (v.1) Look up blow at
"move air, produce a current of air," Old English blawan "to blow (of the wind, bellows, etc.), 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 root *bhle- "to blow."

Transitive sense of "carry by a wind or current of air" is from c. 1300; that of "to fill with air, inflate" is from late 14c. Of noses from 1530s; of electrical fuses from 1902. Meaning "to squander" (money) is from 1874; meaning "lose or bungle (an opportunity, etc.) is by 1943. Sense of "depart (some place) suddenly" is from 1902. For sexual sense, see blow job.

As a colloquial imprecation by 1781, associated with sailors (as in Popeye's "well, blow me down!"); it has past participle blowed.

To blow (a candle, etc.) out "extinguish by a current of air" is from late 14c. To blow over "pass" is from 1610s, originally of storms. To blow hot and cold "vacillate" is from 1570s. To blow off steam (1837) is a figurative use from steam engines releasing pressure. Slang blow (someone or something) off "dismiss, ignore" is by 1986. 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) Look up blow at
"to bloom, blossom, put forth flowers" (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 root *bhel- (3) "to thrive, bloom." This verb is the source of the blown in full-blown. Figurative sense of "attain perfection" is from c. 1600.
blow up (v.) Look up blow up at
1590s, "explode;" 1690s "cause to explode;" from blow (v.1) + up (adv.). From 1670s as "inflate, puff up." Figurative sense "lose one's temper" is from 1871.

As a noun, it is recorded from 1809 in the sense "outburst, quarrel;" 1807 as "an explosion." Meaning "enlargement from a photograph" is attested by 1945 (the verbal phrase in this sense is by 1930). Old English had an adjective upablawan "upblown," used of a volcano, etc.
blow-dry (v.) Look up blow-dry at
1971, of hair; see blow (v.1) + dry (v.). Related: Blow-dried; blow-drying.
blow-fly (n.) Look up blow-fly at
1720, from fly (n.) + blow (v.1) in an obsolete sense "to deposit eggs, to infect with eggs" (1550s), in reference to insects, "apparently connected with old notions of natural history" [OED].
blow-gun (n.) Look up blow-gun at
"pipe or tube through which missiles are blown by the breath," 1799, from blow (v.1) + gun (n.).
blow-hole (n.) Look up blow-hole at
also blowhole, nostril of a whale or porpoise, 1787, from blow (v.1) + hole.
blow-job (n.) Look up blow-job at
also blowjob, "act of fellatio," 1961, from blow + job (n.). 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)). The oldest verbal form appears to be blow (someone) off (1933), a phrase originally among prostitutes.

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."
blow-out (n.) Look up blow-out at
also blowout, 1825, American English colloquial, "outburst, brouhaha" (what in modern vernacular would be called a blow-up), from the verbal phrase, in reference to pressure in a steam engine, etc., from blow (v.1) + out (adv.). Meaning "abundant feast" is recorded from 1824; that of "a bursting of an automobile tire" is from 1908.
blow-pipe (n.) Look up blow-pipe at
1680s, "instrument to carry a current of air or gas to a flame, jet, etc.;" 1825 as a type of weapon, "blow-gun;" from blow (v.1) + pipe (n.1).
blow-torch (n.) Look up blow-torch at
1909, from blow (v.1) + torch (n.).
blowback (n.) Look up blowback at
also blow-back, 1883, in reference to flames in enclosed spaces (firearms, furnaces, etc.), from blow (v.1) + back (adv.). Sense in reference to convert actions, etc., is from 1978.
blower (n.) Look up blower at
early 12c. (originally of horn-blowers), from Old English blawere, agent noun from blow (v.1). Of mechanical devices from 1795. As a colloquial word for "speaking-tube," 1922, hence also by extension "telephone."
blowfish (n.) Look up blowfish at
also blow-fish, 1862, American English, from blow (v.1) + fish (n.).
Then he described another odd product of the bay, that was known as the blow-fish, and had the power of inflating himself with air when taken out of the water. ["The Young Nimrods in North America," New York, 1881]
blowhard (n.) Look up blowhard at
also blow-hard, "blustering person," 1840, a sailor's word (from 1790 as a nickname for a sailor), perhaps originally a reference to weather and not primarily meaning "braggart;" from blow (v.1) + hard (adv.). An adjective sense of "boastful" appeared c. 1855, and may be a separate formation leading to a modified noun use.
blown (adj.) Look up blown at
early 15c., "inflated," from Old English blawen, past participle of blow (v.1). Figurative sense of "inflated by pride" is from late 15c. Meaning "out of breath" is from 1670s. As a past participle adjective from blow (v.2), it was Old English geblowenne.
blowzy (adj.) Look up blowzy at
"disheveled, unkempt," 1778, from obsolete blouze "wench, beggar's trull" (1570s, of uncertain origin; perhaps originally a cant term) + -y (2).
blub (n.) Look up blub at
"fit of weeping," 1894, imitative or short for blubber (v.). As a verb by 1843. Related: Blubbed; blubbing.
blubber (n.) Look up blubber at
late 14c., blober "a bubble, bubbling water; foaming waves," probably echoic of bubbling water. Original notion of "bubbling, foaming" survives in the figurative verbal meaning "to weep, cry" (c. 1400). Meaning "whale fat" first attested 1660s; earlier it was used in reference to jellyfish (c. 1600) and of whale oil (mid-15c.). Compare bubble.
blubber (v.) Look up blubber at
"to cry, to overflow with weeping" (usually disparaging), c. 1400, from blubber (n.). In Middle English also "to seethe, bubble" (late 14c.). Related: Blubbered; blubbering.
blubber-lip (n.) Look up blubber-lip at
"a thick lip," 1660s, from blubber (n.) + lip (n.). Related: Blubber-lipped.
blubbering (adj.) Look up blubbering at
c. 1400, "bubbling, gurgling," present-participle adjective from blubber (v.). Originally of fountains, springs, etc. Of weeping from 1580s.
blubbering (n.) Look up blubbering at
"act of weeping noisily," 1570s, verbal noun from blubber (v.).
blubbery (adj.) Look up blubbery at
1791, from blubber (n.) "whale fat" + -y (2).
bluchers (n.) Look up bluchers at
type of old-style boots, by 1837, from Field Marshal Gebhard Leberecht Blücher (1742-1819), in the later campaigns against Napoleon commander of the Prussian army, who is said to have taken an interest in the footwear of his soldiery. Prince Blucher demi boots were described in 1815 as "military (or half-boots), of royal purple, or dark blue morocco or kid leather, also of purple satin; a small scarlet star, embroidered on the instep, and scarlet bound; red leather buttons (covered red); thin narrow soles, made right and left; broad duck-web toes." Compare Wellington.
bludge (v.) Look up bludge at
"to to shirk work or responsibility," 1919, Australian and New Zealand slang, earlier "be a prostitute's pimp" hence "a loafer," from bludger "pimp."
bludgeon (n.) Look up bludgeon at
"short club, heavy stick with one end thicker than the other,:" 1730, of unknown origin.
A plausible conjecture connects it with D[utch] blusden, blusten bruise, beat .... The E. word, if from this source may have been introduced as a cant term in the Elizabethan period, along with many other cant terms from the D[utch] which never, or not until much later, emerged in literary use.
bludgeon (v.) Look up bludgeon at
1802, "to hit with a bludgeon (n.)," "short club, heavy stick, with one end thicker than the other," which is of unknown origin Related: Bludgeoned; bludgeoning.
bludger (n.) Look up bludger at
"prostitute's pimp," 1856, short for bludgeoner, agent noun from bludgeon (v.). Hence, also, in Australia and New Zealand slang, "loafer" (by 1939).
blue (v.) Look up blue at
"to make blue," c. 1600, from blue (1).
blue (1) Look up blue at
"the color of the clear sky," c. 1300, bleu, blwe, etc., from Old French blo "pale, pallid, wan, light-colored; blond; discolored; blue, blue-gray," from Frankish *blao or some other Germanic source, from Proto-Germanic *blæwaz (source also of Old English blaw, Old Saxon and Old High German blao, Danish blaa, Swedish blå, Old Frisian blau, Middle Dutch bla, Dutch blauw, German blau "blue"), from PIE *bhle-was "light-colored, blue, blond, yellow," from root *bhel- (1) "to shine, flash, burn," also "shining white" and forming words for bright colors.

The same PIE root yielded Latin flavus "yellow," Old Spanish blavo "yellowish-gray," Greek phalos "white," Welsh blawr "gray," Old Norse bla "livid, lead-colored" (the meaning in black and blue), fom Old Fernchshowing the usual slippery definition of color words in Indo-European The present spelling is since 16c., from French influence (Modern French bleu).
The exact color to which the Gmc. term applies varies in the older dialects; M.H.G. bla is also 'yellow,' whereas the Scandinavian words may refer esp. to a deep, swarthy black, e.g. O.N. blamaðr, N.Icel. blamaður 'Negro' [Buck]

Few words enter more largely into the composition of slang, and colloquialisms bordering on slang, than does the word BLUE. Expressive alike of the utmost contempt, as of all that men hold dearest and love best, its manifold combinations, in ever varying shades of meaning, greet the philologist at every turn. [John S. Farmer, "Slang and Its Analogues Past and Present," 1890, p.252]
The color of constancy since Chaucer at least, but apparently for no deeper reason than the rhyme in true blue (c. 1500). From early times blue was the distinctive color of the dress of servants, which may be the reason police uniforms are blue, a tradition Farmer dates to Elizabethan times. For blue ribbon see cordon bleu under cordon. Blue whale attested from 1851, so called for its color. The flower name blue bell is recorded by 1570s. Blue streak, of something resembling a bolt of lightning (for quickness, intensity, etc.) is from 1830, U.S. Western slang.

Many Indo-European languages seem to have had a word to describe the color of the sea, encompasing blue and green and gray; such as Irish glass (see Chloe); Old English hæwen "blue, gray," related to har (see hoar); Serbo-Croatian sinji "gray-blue, sea-green;" Lithuanian šyvas, Russian sivyj "gray."
blue (adj. 2) Look up blue at
"lewd, indecent" recorded from 1840 (in form blueness, in an essay of Carlyle's); the sense connection with the color name blue (1) is unclear, and is opposite to that in blue laws (q.v.). John Mactaggart's "Scottish Gallovidian Encyclopedia" (1824), containing odd words he had learned while growing up in Galloway and elsewhere in Scotland, has an entry for Thread o'Blue, "any little smutty touch in song-singing, chatting, or piece of writing." Farmer ["Slang and Its Analogues Past and Present," 1890] offers the theory that this meaning derives from the blue dress uniforms issued to harlots in houses of correction (from c. 1600), but he writes that the earlier slang authority John Camden Hotten "suggests it as coming from the French Bibliothèque Bleu. a series of books of very questionable character," and adds, from Hotten, that, "Books or conversation of an entirely opposite nature are said to be Brown or Quakerish, i.e., serious, grave, decent."