blue ribbon

noun
1.
the highest award or distinction, as the first prize in a contest: His entry at the state fair won a blue ribbon.
2.
a blue ribbon worn as a badge of honor, especially by members of the Order of the Garter of the British knighthood.
3.
(initial capital letters) . Also, British, Blue Ribband. (formerly) a prize awarded to an ocean liner making the fastest recorded trip across the Atlantic Ocean between Ambrose Lightship and Bishop Rock.
4.
a badge used by some temperance organizations to indicate a pledge of abstinence from alcohol.

Origin:
1645–55

Dictionary.com Unabridged

blue-ribbon

[bloo-rib-uhn]
adjective
of superior quality or prominence; first-rate; specially selected: a blue-ribbon committee of fund-raisers.

Origin:
1925–30; adj. use of blue ribbon

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
blue ribbon
 
n
1.  (in Britain) a badge of blue silk worn by members of the Order of the Garter
2.  a badge awarded as the first prize in a competition
3.  (US) a badge worn by a member of a temperance society

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Example sentences
The family has spent time along the blue-ribbon trout stream for decades.
Most blue-ribbon studies start gathering dust the minute they are printed.
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