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"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."
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.)