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blue definition


This page has 46 definitions of blue in English and Esperanto. Blue is an adjective, noun, verb and adverb. Examples of how to use blue in a sentence are shown. Also define these 0 related words and terms: .

See also: Blue

English blue definition

Various shades of blue
A Jämthund, which is a dog with blue (grey) fur
A bluefish

Alternative forms


Etymology 1

From Middle English blewe, from Anglo-Norman blew (blue)[1], from Middle French bleu, from Old French blöe, bleve, blef (blue), from Frankish *blāu (blue) (perhaps through a Medieval Latin blāvus, blāvius (blue)), from Proto-Germanic *blēwaz (blue, dark blue), from Proto-Indo-European *bʰlēw- (yellow, blond, grey). Cognate with dialectal English blow (blue), Scots blue, blew (blue), North Frisian bla, blö (blue), Saterland Frisian blau (blue), Dutch blauw (blue), German blau (blue), Danish, Norwegian and Swedish blå (blue), Icelandic blár (blue), Latin flāvus (yellow), Middle Irish blá (yellow). Doublet of blae.

Possibly related also to English blee (colour), from Old English blēo (colour); but direct derivatives of Proto-Germanic *blēwaz (blue, dark blue) in Old English include: Old English blāw and blēo (blue), Old English blǣwen (bluish, light-blue), blǣhǣwen (blue-coloured, bluish, violet or purple colour, literally blue-hued). There seems to be a parallel connection in Germanic between words for blue and colour, dually exemplified by Proto-West Germanic *blīu (colour, blee) and *blāu (blue); and Proto-Germanic *hiwją (colour, hue) and *hēwijaz (blue, purple).

The sense "obscene, pornographic" is apparently from the colour; various theories exist as to how it arose, including that it is from the colour of the envelopes used to contain missives of the censors and managers to vaudevillian performers on objectionable material from their acts that needed to be excised. (Can this(+) etymology be sourced?)


blue (comparative bluer or more blue, superlative bluest or most blue)

  1. Having blue as its color.
    the deep blue sea
  2. (informal) Depressed, melancholic, sad.
    • 1907 August, Robert W[illiam] Chambers, chapter IX, in The Younger Set, New York, N.Y.: D. Appleton & Company, OCLC 24962326:
      “Heavens!” exclaimed Nina, “the blue-stocking and the fogy!—and yours are pale blue, Eileen!—you’re about as self-conscious as Drina—slumping there with your hair tumbling à la Mérode! Oh, it's very picturesque, of course, but a straight spine and good grooming is better. []
    • 1904, Guy Wetmore Carryl, The Transgression of Andrew Vane, Henry Holt and Company, page 140:
      "Will you play some of the 'Garden' now?" she asked. "I think I should like it. I'm just the least bit blue."
    • 1978, Michael Johnson, "Bluer Than Blue"
      But I'm bluer than blue / Sadder than sad.
  3. (health care) Having a bluish or purplish shade of the skin due to a lack of oxygen to the normally deep red blood cells.
    The divers got them out of the car just in time – they were starting to turn blue.
  4. Pale, without redness or glare; said of a flame.
    The candle burns blue.
  5. (politics) Supportive of, run by (a member of), pertaining to, or dominated by a political party represented by the colour blue.
    1. (US, politics) Supportive of, run by (a member of), pertaining to, or dominated by the Democratic Party. [late 20th c.]
      I live in a blue constituency.  Congress turned blue in the mid-term elections.
    2. (Australia, politics) Supportive of or related to the Liberal Party.
      Illawarra turns blue in Liberal washout
    3. (UK politics) Supportive of or related to the Conservative Party.
  6. (astronomy) Of the higher-frequency region of the part of the electromagnetic spectrum which is relevant in the specific observation.
  7. (of steak) Extra rare; left very raw and cold.
  8. (of a dog or cat) Having a coat of fur of a slaty gray shade.
  9. (archaic) Severe or overly strict in morals; gloomy.
    blue and sour religionists;  blue laws
  10. (archaic, of women) literary; bluestockinged.
  11. (particle physics) Having a color charge of blue.
  12. (informal) Risqué; obscene; profane; pornographic.
    His material is too blue for prime-time
    The air was blue with oaths.
    a blue movie


blue (countable and uncountable, plural blues)

  1. (countable and uncountable) The colour of the clear sky or the deep sea, between green and purple in the visible spectrum, and one of the primary additive colours for transmitted light; the colour obtained by subtracting red and green from white light using magenta and cyan filters; or any colour resembling this.
    other blue:  
    • 1842, Letitia Elizabeth Landon, Lady Anne Granard, volume 1, page 204:
      Lady Penrhyn was quite handsome enough to have spared one ingredient in her cup of fascination, but, unfortunately, having been married in her teens, she expected to live in them, and, never being reminded by the trials to which her sex is subject, of the flight of years, and the inroads of suffering, expected time to stand still, and the first bloom of existence (the blue on the plum) to remain as stationary as her own taste, for the pleasures of flirtation.
    • 2004, David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas:
      She watches the yachts in the creamy evening blues.
  2. Anything coloured blue, especially to distinguish it from similar objects differing only in color.
    I don't like red Smarties. Have you got a blue?
  3. A blue dye or pigment.
  4. Blue clothing.
    The boys in blue marched to the pipers.
    1. (in the plural) A blue uniform. See blues.
    2. A member of a sports team that wears blue colours; (in the plural) a nickname for the team as a whole. See also blues.
      Come on you blues!
    3. (baseball, slang) An umpire, in reference to the typical dark blue color of the umpire's uniform. Sometimes perceived by umpires as derogatory when used by players or coaches while disputing a call.
      He was safe! Terrible call, blue!
    4. Sporting colours awarded by a university or other institution for sporting achievement, such as representing one's university, especially and originally at Oxford and Cambridge Universities in England. See also full blue, half blue.
      He excelled at rowing and received a blue in the sport at Oxford.
    5. A person who has received such sporting colours.
      He was a blue in rugby at Cambridge.
    6. (slang) A member of law enforcement.
    7. (now historical) A bluestocking.
  5. The sky, literally or figuratively.
    The balloon floated up into the blue.
    His request for leave came out of the blue.
  6. The ocean; deep waters.
  7. The far distance; a remote or distant place.
    • 1978, Peter Hathaway Capstick, Death in the Long Grass (→ISBN):
      The problem with buffalo as well as most African antelopes as a steady diet is that they have very little marbling or body fat and, after six months out in the blue, one dreams at night of a T-bone steak sizzling in great globules of yellow fat.
    • 2000, Thomas C. Barger, Timothy J. Barger, Out in the Blue: Letters from Arabia, 1937 to 1940 : a Young American Geologist Explores the Deserts of Early Saudi Arabia (→ISBN)
  8. A dog or cat with a slaty gray coat.
    • 2000, Joe Stahlkuppe, American Pit Bull Terrier Handbook, page 131:
      On average, blues and other dilutes have weaker coats and skin problems seem more prevalent in the dilutes.
  9. (snooker) One of the colour balls used in snooker, with a value of five points.
  10. (entomology) Any of the butterflies of the subfamily Polyommatinae in the family Lycaenidae, most of which have blue on their wings.
  11. A bluefish.
    • 2012, Lenny Rudow, Rudow's Guide to Fishing the Mid Atlantic, page 102:
      Blues are about as vicious a fish as you'll find on the Atlantic seaboard — they will continue to slash through schools of bait even after they have eaten so much that they're constantly regurgitating shredded baitfish.
  12. (Australia, colloquial) An argument.
    • 2004, Tim Winton, The Turning (short stories), Picador UK Paperback edition 2006. Short story, 'Small Mercies' (at p.91):
      "I had a blue with Dad," said Fay. "He wanted to drive us, I wanted to walk."
    • 2008, Cheryl Jorgensen, The Taint, page 135,
      If they had a blue between themselves, they kept it there, it never flowed out onto the streets to innocent people — like a lot of things that have been happenin′ on the streets today.
    • 2009, John Gilfoyle, Remember Cannon Hill, page 102,
      On another occasion, there was a blue between Henry Daniels and Merv Wilson down at the pig sale. I don′t know what it was about, it only lasted a minute or so, but they shook hands when it was over and that was the end of it.
    • 2011, Julietta Jameson, Me, Myself and Lord Byron, unnumbered page,
      I was a bit disappointed. Was that it? No abuse like Lord Byron had endured? Not that I was wishing that upon myself. It was just that a blue between my parents, albeit a raging, foul, bile-spitting hate fest, was not exactly Charles Dickens.
  13. A liquid with an intense blue colour, added to a laundry wash to prevent yellowing of white clothes.
    • 1948, Alec H. Chisholm, Bird Wonders of Australia, page 13:
      It was applied methodically, carefully, resolutely, as in the fashion of a Satin-bird with charcoal, desiccated wood or blue from laundry-bags.
  14. Any of several processes to protect metal against rust.
  15. (Britain) A type of firecracker.
    • 1781, Frances Burney, Journals & Letters, Penguin 2001, p. 172:
      Lord Lyttelton's Life by Dr Johnson […] which a whole tribe of Blues, with Mrs Montagu at their Head, have Vowed to execrate and revenge […].
  16. (particle physics) One of the three color charges for quarks.
  17. (UK) A member or supporter of the Conservative Party.
    He is a true blue.
Further reading


blue (third-person singular simple present blues, present participle blueing or bluing, simple past and past participle blued)

  1. (ergative) To make or become blue; to turn blue.
    • 1900 July 8, The Truth, Sydney, page 1, column 6:
      It blows, it snows,
      And blues your nose,
      My toes are all frost bitten
      The weather would
      Quite starve the crows,
      Or freeze the part you sit on.
  2. (transitive, metallurgy) To treat the surface of steel so that it is passivated chemically and becomes more resistant to rust.
  3. (transitive, laundry) To brighten by treating with blue (laundry aid).
  4. (intransitive, Australia, slang) To fight, brawl, or argue.

Derived terms

Terms derived from the adjective, noun, or verb blue

See also

Colors in English · colors, colours (layout · text)
     white      gray, grey      black
             red; crimson              orange; brown              yellow; cream
             lime, lime green              green              mint
             cyan; teal              azure, sky blue              blue
             violet; indigo              magenta; purple              pink

Etymology 2

Etymology uncertain; possibly from blew (past tense of blow).


blue (third-person singular simple present blues, present participle blueing or bluing, simple past and past participle blued)

  1. (transitive, slang, dated) To spend (money) extravagantly; to blow.
    • 1974, GB Edwards, The Book of Ebenezer Le Page, New York 2007, page 311:
      They was willing to blue the lot and have nothing left when they got home except debts on the never-never.



Esperanto blue definition




  1. bluely

Related terms