blue in the face

blue

[bloo]
noun
1.
the pure color of a clear sky; the primary color between green and violet in the visible spectrum, an effect of light with a wavelength between 450 and 500 nm.
3.
something having a blue color: Place the blue next to the red.
4.
a person who wears blue or is a member of a group characterized by some blue symbol: Tomorrow the blues will play the browns.
5.
(often initial capital letter) a member of the Union army in the American Civil War or the army itself. Compare gray ( def 13 ).
7.
blue ribbon ( def 1 ).
8.
any of several blue-winged butterflies of the family Lycaenidae.
9.
Printing. blueline.
10.
the blue.
a.
the sky.
b.
the sea.
c.
the remote distance: They've vanished into the blue somewhere.
adjective, bluer, bluest.
11.
of the color of blue: a blue tie.
12.
(initial capital letter) of or pertaining to the Union army in the American Civil War.
13.
(of the skin) discolored by cold, contusion, fear, or vascular collapse.
14.
depressed in spirits; dejected; melancholy: She felt blue about not being chosen for the team.
15.
holding or offering little hope; dismal; bleak: a blue outlook.
16.
characterized by or stemming from rigid morals or religion: statutes that were blue and unrealistic.
17.
marked by blasphemy: The air was blue with oaths.
18.
(of an animal's pelage) grayish-blue.
19.
indecent; somewhat obscene; risqué: a blue joke or film.
verb (used with object), blued, bluing or blueing.
20.
to make blue; dye a blue color.
21.
to tinge with bluing: Don't blue your clothes till the second rinse.
verb (used without object), blued, bluing or blueing.
22.
to become or turn blue.
Idioms
23.
blue in the face, exhausted and speechless, as from excessive anger, physical strain, etc.: I reminded him about it till I was blue in the face.
24.
out of the blue, suddenly and unexpectedly: The inheritance came out of the blue as a stroke of good fortune.

Origin:
1250–1300; Middle English blewe < Anglo-French blew, bl(i)u, bl(i)ef blue, livid, discolored, Old French blo, blau (French bleu) < Germanic *blǣwaz; compare Old English blǣwen, contraction of blǣhǣwen deep blue, perse (see blae, hue), Old Frisian blāw, Middle Dutch blā(u), Old High German blāo (German blau), Old Norse blār

bluely, adverb
blueness, noun
half-blue, adjective
unblued, adjective

blew, blue.


1. azure, cerulean, sapphire. 14. despondent, unhappy, morose, doleful, dispirited, sad, glum, downcast. 15. gloomy, dispiriting. 16. righteous, puritanical, moral, severe, prudish.


14. happy.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To blue in the face
Collins
World English Dictionary
blue (bluː)
 
n
1.  any of a group of colours, such as that of a clear unclouded sky, that have wavelengths in the range 490--445 nanometres. Blue is the complementary colour of yellow and with red and green forms a set of primary coloursRelated: cyanic
2.  a dye or pigment of any of these colours
3.  blue cloth or clothing: dressed in blue
4.  a.  a sportsperson who represents or has represented Oxford or Cambridge University and has the right to wear the university colour (dark blue for Oxford, light blue for Cambridge): an Oxford blue
 b.  the honour of so representing one's university
5.  (Brit) an informal name for Tory
6.  any of numerous small blue-winged butterflies of the genera Lampides, Polyommatus, etc: family Lycaenidae
7.  archaic short for bluestocking
8.  slang a policeman
9.  archery a blue ring on a target, between the red and the black, scoring five points
10.  a blue ball in snooker, etc
11.  another name for blueing
12.  slang (Austral), (NZ) an argument or fight: he had a blue with a taxi driver
13.  slang (Austral), (NZ) Also: bluey a court summons, esp for a traffic offence
14.  informal (Austral), (NZ) a mistake; error
15.  out of the blue apparently from nowhere; unexpectedly: the opportunity came out of the blue
16.  into the blue into the unknown or the far distance
 
adj , bluer, bluest
17.  of the colour blue
18.  (of the flesh) having a purple tinge, as from cold or contusion
19.  depressed, moody, or unhappy
20.  dismal or depressing: a blue day
21.  indecent, titillating, or pornographic: blue films
22.  bluish in colour or having parts or marks that are bluish: a blue fox; a blue whale
23.  rare See blue blood aristocratic; noble; patrician: a blue family
24.  (US) Compare red relating to, supporting, or representing the Democratic Party
 
vb , bluer, bluest, blues, blueing, bluing, blued
25.  to make, dye, or become blue
26.  (tr) to treat (laundry) with blueing
27.  slang (tr) to spend extravagantly or wastefully; squander
 
Related: cyanic
 
[C13: from Old French bleu, of Germanic origin; compare Old Norse blār, Old High German blāo, Middle Dutch blā; related to Latin flāvus yellow]
 
'bluely
 
adv
 
'blueness
 
n

Blue or Bluey (bluː)
 
n
informal (Austral) a nickname for a person with red hair
 
Bluey or Bluey
 
n

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Etymonline
Word Origin & History

blue
c.1300, bleu, blwe, etc., from O.Fr. blo "pale, pallid, wan, light-colored; blond; discolored; blue, blue-gray," from Frankish *blao, from P.Gmc. *blæwaz (cf. O.E. blaw, O.S., O.H.G. blao, Dan. blaa, Swed. blå, O.Fris. blau, M.Du. bla, Du. blauw, Ger. blau "blue"), from PIE *bhle-was "light-colored,
blue, blond, yellow." "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]. Replaced O.E. blaw, from the same PIE root, which also yielded L. flavus "yellow," O.Sp. blavo "yellowish-gray," Gk. phalos "white," Welsh blawr "gray," O.N. bla "livid" (the meaning in black and blue), showing the usual slippery definition of color words in I.E. The present spelling is since 16c., from French influence (Mod.Fr. bleu).
"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. Many IE languages seem to have had a word to describe the color of the sea, encompasing blue and green and gray; e.g. Ir. glass (see Chloe); O.E. hæwen "blue, gray," related to har (see hoar); Serbo-Cr. sinji "gray-blue, sea-green;" Lith. yvas, Rus. sivyj "gray."

blue
"lewd, indecent" recorded from 1840 (in form blueness, in an essay of Carlyle's); the sense connection 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, 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."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Easton
Bible Dictionary

Blue definition


generally associated with purple (Ex. 25:4; 26:1, 31, 36, etc.). It is supposed to have been obtained from a shellfish of the Mediterranean, the Helix ianthina of Linnaeus. The robe of the high priest's ephod was to be all of this colour (Ex. 28:31), also the loops of the curtains (26:4) and the ribbon of the breastplate (28:28). Blue cloths were also made for various sacred purposes (Num. 4:6, 7, 9, 11, 12). (See COLOUR.)

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
Cite This Source
American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

blue in the face

Exhausted from anger, strain, or other great effort. For example, You can argue until you're blue in the face, but I refuse to go. This expression alludes to the bluish skin color resulting from lack of oxygen, which presumably might result from talking until one was breathless. See also under talk one's arm off.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
Cite This Source
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature