Word Origin & History
c.1300, originally an adj., "soft, flabby," but by 17c. meaning "puffed up, swollen." Perhaps from O.N. blautr "soaked, soft from being cooked in liquid," possibly from P.Gmc. *blaut-, from PIE *bhleu- "to swell, well up, overflow," an extension of base *bhel- (2) "to blow, swell" (see
). Influenced by or combined with O.E. blawan "blow, puff." The verb sense of "to swell" is first attested 1670s.
"overgrown," 1660s, pp. adj. from bloat
(q.v.). Figurative sense is from 1711.