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blue moon

Idioms
1.
moon (def 16).
Origin
1815-1825
1815-25
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for blue moon
  • Since these require effort, only once in a blue moon does someone with a bad grade actually do it.
  • On the whole it has worked well for us-though once in a blue moon it has failed us.
  • My husband's online sartorial purchases come once in a blue moon.
  • Movie phenomena are supposed to occur once in a blue moon, or a new one.
  • But momentum for it comes around once in a blue moon, usually when it comes time to cut taxes.
  • It happens once in a blue moon that it gets destroyed.
  • Every once in a while, every blue moon, audiences want to be reminded of why they made someone a star in the first place.
  • The infrequency explains why a blue moon implies a rare event.
  • Every once in a blue moon, the fashion world gets excited about something you can actually wear.
British Dictionary definitions for blue moon

blue moon

noun
1.
the second full moon occurring within a calendar month
2.
(informal) once in a blue moon, very rarely; almost never
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for blue moon
n.

1821 as a specific term in the sense "very rarely," perhaps suggesting something that, in fact, never happens (cf. at the Greek calends, and the native in the reign of Queen Dick and Saint Geoffrey's Day "Never, there being no saint of that name," reported in Grose (1788)); suggested earliest in this couplet from 1528:

Yf they say the mone is blewe,
We must beleve that it is true.
Though this might refer to calendrical calculations by the Church, so that the general sense of the term and the specific one (commonly misinterpreted as "second full moon in a calendar month," but actually a quarterly calculation) are difficult to disentangle. In either case, the sense of blue is obscure. Literal blue moons do sometimes occur under extreme atmospheric conditions.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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6
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