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blow definition


This page has 51 definitions of blow in English and Middle English. Blow is a verb, noun and adjective. Examples of how to use blow in a sentence are shown. Also define these 0 related words and terms: .

See also: Blow and b'low

English blow definition


Etymology 1

From Middle English blowen, from Old English blāwan (to blow, breathe, inflate, sound), from Proto-West Germanic *blāan, from Proto-Germanic *blēaną (to blow) (compare German blähen), from Proto-Indo-European *bʰleh₁- (to swell, blow up) (compare Latin flō (to blow) and Old Armenian բեղուն (bełun, fertile)).


blow (third-person singular simple present blows, present participle blowing, simple past blew, past participle blown)

  1. (intransitive) To produce an air current.
  2. (transitive) To propel by an air current (or, if under water, a water current), usually with the mouth.
    Blow the dust off that book and open it up.
  3. (intransitive) To be propelled by an air current.
    The leaves blow through the streets in the fall.
  4. (figuratively) To direct or move, usually of a person to a particular location.
    • 1837, Letitia Elizabeth Landon, Ethel Churchill, volume 2, page 260:
      "This is an unexpected pleasure!" exclaimed he. "What good fortune blows Lady Marchmont hither?"
  5. (transitive) To create or shape by blowing; as in to blow bubbles, to blow glass.
  6. (transitive) To force a current of air upon with the mouth, or by other means.
    to blow the fire
  7. (transitive) To clear of contents by forcing air through.
    to blow an egg
    to blow one's nose
    The submarine blew its main ballast tanks.
  8. (transitive) To cause to make sound by blowing, as a musical instrument.
  9. (intransitive) To make a sound as the result of being blown.
    In the harbor, the ships' horns blew.
  10. (intransitive, of a cetacean) To exhale visibly through the spout the seawater which it has taken in while feeding.
    There's nothing more thrilling to the whale watcher than to see a whale surface and blow.
    There she blows! (i.e. "I see a whale spouting!")
    • 1886, Peter Christen Asbjørnsen, H.L. Brækstad, transl., Folk and Fairy Tales, page 184:
      Soon after he [a porpoise] appeared again, blowing very hard, but the next moment he turned over; Rasmus was not slow in putting the boat-hook in him and hauling him into the boat with my assistance.
  11. (intransitive) To explode.
    Get away from that burning gas tank! It's about to blow!
  12. (transitive, with "up" or with prep phrase headed by "to") To cause to explode, shatter, or be utterly destroyed.
    The demolition squad neatly blew the old hotel up.
    The aerosol can was blown to bits.
    • 2022 January 12, Benedict le Vay, “The heroes of Soham...”, in RAIL, number 948, page 42:
      However, something once happened on the railway there which showed the very best of mankind: heroism, duty, self-sacrifice and calm professionalism under terrible pressure. It is a story which gives us far, far better reasons for remembering this attractive little town, which without these heroes would have been blown to smithereens in a gigantic explosion. (Two railwaymen lost their lives in 1944 when a wagon in an ammunition train caught fire and blew up, an even worse disaster was averted however.)
  13. (transitive, historical, military, of a person) To blow from a gun.
  14. (transitive) To cause the sudden destruction of.
    He blew the tires and the engine.
  15. (intransitive) To suddenly fail destructively.
    He tried to sprint, but his ligaments blew and he was barely able to walk to the finish line.
    • (Can we date this quote?),, “Blown windows repair cost guide”, in (Please provide the book title or journal name):
      A common problem for double glazed windows (or doors) is mist or condensation between the panes of glass. This is known as a blown window or failed double glazing. But what does it cost to repair?
  16. (transitive, slang) To recklessly squander.
    • 1932, Delos W. Lovelace, King Kong, published 1965, page 136:
      ‘Holy Mackerel, Ann! I’m certainly glad we blew ourselves for that outfit of yours.’
    I managed to blow $1000 at blackjack in under an hour.
    I blew $35 thou on a car.
    We blew an opportunity to get benign corporate sponsorship.
  17. (transitive, informal, idiomatic) To fail at something; to mess up; to make a mistake.
    I blew it and forgot to start the spaghetti, so I had plenty of sauce and no pasta.
    Good luck, and don't blow it!
    • 2014, Daniel Taylor, "World Cup 2014: Uruguay sink England as Suárez makes his mark,", 20 June:
      Hodgson’s team attracted a certain amount of sympathy and understanding after the Italy defeat but it was beyond them to play with the same attacking panache and, if there is to be a feat of escapology, it will need an almost implausible combination of results and handouts in the final games of Group D. More realistically, they have blown it in their first week.
  18. (intransitive) (used to express displeasure or frustration) Damn.
  19. (intransitive, slang, sometimes considered vulgar) To be very undesirable.
    Synonym: suck
    This blows!
  20. (transitive, vulgar) To fellate; to perform oral sex on (usually a man).
    Who did you have to blow to get those backstage passes?
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:give head
  21. (transitive, slang) To leave, especially suddenly or in a hurry.
    Let's blow this joint.
  22. (transitive) To make flyblown, to defile, especially with fly eggs.
  23. (intransitive) (of a fly) To lay eggs; to breed.
    • 1807, Thomas Pike Lathy, Gabriel Forrester;or, The deserted son. A novel in four volumes, volume 2, London: Lewis and Hamblin, page 77:
      […] said the bookseller, “but I cannot risk the expence of your debut - There are critics without as well as within a theatre.” - I know it, said I, interrupting him; “men who, like flies blowing on a piece of wholesome meat, can convert it into carrion - […]
    • 1843, William Hughes(Piscator), Fish, How to Choose and How to Dress, London: Longman, Green, Brown, and Longmans, page 41-42:
      In Cornwall, a singular mode of curing conger, once prevailed, which was, merely to split the conger in halves, and, without any further preparation, to hang them up in a kind of shambles erected for that purpose, when the flies, blowing on the fish, the progeny would devour all the parts liable to decomposition, whilst the residue, being dried in the sun, became in this manner fit for use: and, when perfectly cured, where exported to Spain and Portugal. There they were ground into powder, and with this preparation, the natives of those Countries used to thicken their soups.
    • 1921, “The British Veterinary Journal”, in (Please provide the book title or journal name), volume 77, Ballière Tindall, page 29:
      […]and often after they drop off the punctured skins are the seats of maggots, etc., owing to flies blowing on these injuries.
  24. (obsolete) To spread by report; to publish; to disclose.
  25. (obsolete) To inflate, as with pride; to puff up.
  26. (intransitive) To breathe hard or quick; to pant; to puff.
  27. (transitive) To put out of breath; to cause to blow from fatigue.
  28. (dated) To talk loudly; boast; brag.
    • 1866 February 6, Mark Twain, “Remarkable Dream”, in Virginia City Territorial Enterprise:
      I don't want the worst characters in hell to be running after me with friendly messages and little testimonials of admiration for Smythe, and blowing about his talents, and bragging on him, and belching their villainous fire and brimstone all through the atmosphere and making my place smell worse than a menagerie.
    • a. 1940, Mildred Haun, "Shin-Bone Rocks" in The Hawk's Done Gone p. 218:
      He didn't just set around and try to out sweettalk[sic] somebody; he got out and out-fit somebody. He wouldn't be blowing when he told his boys how he fit for the woman he got.
    • 1969, Charles Ambrose McCarthy, The Great Molly Maguire Hoax (page 113)
      At the breaking edge with him and completely fed up with his everlasting bragging and blowing about his personal exploits, and desirous of putting him somewhere, anywhere, so they wouldn't be continuously annoyed by him, []
    • 1976, David Toulmin, Blown Seed (page 148)
      Audie never liked him because he was further in with old Craig than he was, bragging and blowing about his work and the things he could do, while Audie sat quiet as a mouse listening to his blab.
  29. (UK, slang, archaic) To expose, or inform on.
    Synonym: grass up
    • 1722, Daniel Defoe, Colonel Jack
      'As for that,' says Will, 'I could tell it well enough, if I had it, but I must not be seen anywhere among my old acquaintances, for I am blown, and they will all betray me.'
  30. (slang, informal, African-American Vernacular) To sing.
    That girl has a wonderful voice; just listen to her blow!
  31. (Scientology, intransitive) To leave the Church of Scientology in an unauthorized manner.
Derived terms
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Dictionary:Entry layout § Translations.


blow (countable and uncountable, plural blows)

  1. A strong wind.
    We're having a bit of a blow this afternoon.
  2. (informal) A chance to catch one's breath.
    The players were able to get a blow during the last timeout.
  3. (uncountable, US, slang) Cocaine.
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:cocaine
    • 2001, David McKenna, Blow, spoken by Derek:
      Jesus Christ, George, I don't see you for two years and you show up on my doorstep with 110 pounds of blow.
  4. (uncountable, UK, slang) Cannabis.
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:marijuana
  5. (uncountable, US Chicago Regional, slang) Heroin.
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:heroin
  6. (informal, vulgar) A blowjob; fellatio.
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:oral sex
    His girlfriend gave him a blow.
  7. (nautical) An instance of using high-pressure air to empty water from the ballast tanks of a submarine, increasing the submarine's buoyancy and causing it to surface.
    • 2005 September 29, National Transportation Safety Board, “Emergency Evolutions”, in Marine Accident Brief: Collision between the U.S. Navy Submarine USS Greeneville and Japanese Motor Vessel Ehime Maru near Oahu, Hawaii, 9 February 2001[1], archived from the original on 25 March 2022, retrieved 14 June 2022, page 24:
      The sounding of the alarm was the signal to begin the emergency blow maneuver. At this time, witnesses reported, the guest at the high-pressure air controls operated the levers under close supervision of Navy personnel, and the submarine started to rise at a sharp angle.
Derived terms

Etymology 2

From Middle English blo, bloo, from Old English blāw (blue), from Proto-Germanic *blēwaz (blue, dark blue, grey, black), from Proto-Indo-European *bʰlēw- (yellow, blond, grey). Cognate with Latin flavus (yellow). Doublet of blue.


blow (comparative blower or more blow, superlative blowest or most blow)

  1. (now chiefly dialectal, Northern England) Blue.

Etymology 3

From Middle English blowe, blaw, northern variant of blēwe, from Proto-Germanic *blewwaną (to beat) (compare Old Norse blegði (wedge), German einbläuen, Middle Dutch blouwen). Related to block.


blow (plural blows)

  1. The act of striking or hitting.
    Synonyms: bace, strike, hit, punch
    A fabricator is used to direct a sharp blow to the surface of the stone.
    During an exchange to end round 13, Duran landed a blow to the midsection.
  2. A sudden or forcible act or effort; an assault.
    • 1843, Thomas Arnold, “Progress of the War in Italy after the Battle of Cannæ. []”, in J[ulius] C[harles] Hare, editor, History of Rome, volume III (From the End of the First to the End of the Second Punic War), London: B. Fellowes; [], OCLC 15338666, page 227:
      There he found that [] Hanno's camp was crowded with cattle and carriages, and a mixed multitude of unarmed men, and even of women and children; and that a vigorous blow might win it with all its spoil: the indefatigable general was absent, scouring the country for additional supplies of corn.
  3. A damaging occurrence.
    Synonyms: disaster, calamity
    A further blow to the group came in 1917 when Thomson died while canoeing in Algonquin Park.
    • c. 1603–1606, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of King Lear”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act IV, scene vi]:
      a most poor man, made tame to fortune's blows
    • 2011 April 15, Saj Chowdhury, “Norwich 2 - 1 Nott'm Forest”, in BBC Sport[2]:
      Norwich returned to second in the Championship with victory over Nottingham Forest, whose promotion hopes were dealt another blow.
  4. (Australia, shearing, historical) A cut made to a sheep's fleece by a shearer using hand-shears.
    • 1891 December 5, The Bacchus Marsh Express, page 7, column 7:
      Click goes his shears; click, click, click. / Wide are the blows, and his hand is moving quick, / The ringer looks round, for he lost it by a blow, / And he curses that old shearer with the bare belled ewe.
  5. (television) Synonym of button (the punchy or suspenseful line of dialogue that concludes a scene)
    • 2014, Martie Cook, Write to TV: Out of Your Head and onto the Screen (page 105)
      The blow is important because it transitions the reader and eventually the audience from one scene to another.
Derived terms

Etymology 4

From Middle English blowen, from Old English blōwan, from Proto-Germanic *blōaną (compare Dutch bloeien, German blühen), from Proto-Indo-European *bʰleh₃- (compare Latin florēre (to bloom)).


blow (third-person singular simple present blows, present participle blowing, simple past blew, past participle blown)

  1. To blossom; to cause to bloom or blossom.
Derived terms


blow (plural blows)

  1. A mass or display of flowers; a yield.
    • 1710, Joseph Addison, “From my own apartment, August 29”, in The Tatler[4], page 181:
      [] for that he believed he could shew me such a blow of tulips as was not to be matched in the whole country.
  2. A display of anything brilliant or bright.
  3. A bloom, state of flowering.
    Roses in full blow.
Related terms


Middle English blow definition



  1. Alternative form of blowen (to blow)