blighter (n.) Look up blighter at
1822, "thing which blights," agent noun from blight (v.). British colloquial sense of "contemptible person" (often jocular) is recorded from 1896.
blimey Look up blimey at
by 1889, probably a corruption of (God) blind me! First attested in a slang dictionary which defines it as "an apparently meaningless, abusive term."
blimp (n.) Look up blimp at
1916, of obscure origin, many claimants. "One of the weird coinages of the airmen" [Weekley]. Common theory is that it is from designers' prototype nickname Type B-limp, in the sense of "without internal framework," as opposed to Type A-rigid; thus see limp (adj.).
blind (adj.) Look up blind at
Old English blind "blind," also "dark, enveloped in darkness, obscure; unintelligent, lacking mental perception," probably from Proto-Germanic *blinda- "blind" (cognates: Dutch and German blind, Old Norse blindr, Gothic blinds "blind"), perhaps, via notion of "to make cloudy, deceive," from an extended Germanic form of the PIE root *bhel- (1) "to shine, flash, burn" (see bleach (v.)). Compare Lithuanian blendzas "blind," blesti "to become dark." The original sense would be not "sightless" but rather "confused," which perhaps underlies such phrases as blind alley (Chaucer's lanes blynde), which is older than the sense of "closed at one end" (1610s).
The twilight, or rather the hour between the time when one can no longer see to read and the lighting of the candles, is commonly called blindman's holiday. [Grose, 1796]
In reference to doing something without seeing it first, by 1840. Of aviators flying without instruments or without clear observation, from 1919. Related: Blinded; blinding. Blindman's bluff is from 1580s.
blind (v.) Look up blind at
"deprive of sight," early 13c., from Old English blendan "to blind, deprive of sight; deceive," from Proto-Germanic *blandjan (see blind (adj.)); form influenced in Middle English by the adjective. Related: Blinded; blinding.
blind (n.) Look up blind at
"a blind person; blind persons collectively," late Old Engish, from blind (adj.). Meaning "place of concealment" is from 1640s. Meaning "anything that obstructs sight" is from 1702.
blind date (n.) Look up blind date at
by 1921, U.S. college student slang, from blind (adj.) + date (n.3). Earliest attested use is in reference to the person.
blind side (n.) Look up blind side at
"unguarded aspect," c. 1600; see blind (adj.). As a verb, also blind-side, blindside, "to hit from the blind side," first attested 1968, American English, in reference to U.S. football tackles.
blind spot (n.) Look up blind spot at
1864, "spot within one's range of vision where yet one cannot see." Of flaws in the eye, from 1872; figurative sense in use by 1907.
blinded (adj.) Look up blinded at
1590s, past participle adjective from blind (v.). Figurative sense is earlier (1530s).
blinder (n.) Look up blinder at
1580s, agent noun from blind (v.). Especially of blinkers for horses from c. 1800, often figurative. Related: Blinders.
blindfold (v.) Look up blindfold at
1520s, alteration, by similarity to fold, of blindfelled (early 14c.), past participle of blindfellan "blindfold, cover the eyes (with a bandage, etc.)," also "to strike blind" (c. 1200), from Old English (ge)blindfellian "to strike blind," from blind (adj.) + Anglian gefeollan "to strike down," as in to fell a tree (see fell (v.)). Related: Blindfolded; blindfolding.
blindfold (n.) Look up blindfold at
1880, from blindfold (v.).
blinding (adj.) Look up blinding at
1784, past participle adjective from blind (v.). Related: Blindingly.
blindly (adv.) Look up blindly at
Old English blindlice; see blind (adj.) + -ly (2).
blindness (n.) Look up blindness at
Old English blindnysse, blendes, from blind + -ness. Figurative sense was in Old English.
blinds (n.) Look up blinds at
"window screens," 1771, from blind (singular blind in this sense is recorded from 1731).
bling (n.) Look up bling at
also bling-bling, by 1997, U.S. rap slang, "wealth, expensive accessories," a sound suggestive of the glitter of jewels and precious metals (compare German blinken "to gleam, sparkle").
blink (v.) Look up blink at
1580s, perhaps from Middle Dutch blinken "to glitter," which is of uncertain origin, possibly, with German blinken "to gleam, sparkle, twinkle," from a nasalized form of base found in Old English blican "to shine, glitter" (see bleach (v.)).

Middle English had blynke (c. 1300) in the sense "a brief gleam or spark," perhaps a variant of blench "to move suddenly or sharply; to raise one's eyelids" (c. 1200), perhaps from the rare Old English blencan "deceive." Related: Blinked; blinking. The last, as a euphemism for a stronger word, is attested by 1914.
blink (n.) Look up blink at
1590s, "a glance;" see blink (v.). As is the case with the verb, there is a similar word in Middle English, in use from c. 1300, that might represent a native form of the same root.
blinkard (n.) Look up blinkard at
a mocking term for a person with bad eyesight, c. 1500, from blink (v.) + -ard. Figuratively, "one who lacks intellectual perception" (1520s).
blinker (n.) Look up blinker at
1630s, "one who blinks," agent noun from blink (v.). As a type of horse eye screen to keep the animal looking straight ahead, from 1789. Slang meaning "the eye" is from 1816. Meaning "intermittent flashing light" is from 1923.
blinkered (adj.) Look up blinkered at
in the figurative sense, 1867, from horses wearing blinkers to limit the range of their vision (see blinker).
blintz (n.) Look up blintz at
1903, from Yiddish blintze, from Russian blinyets, diminutive of blin "pancake," from Old Russian blinu.
blip (n.) Look up blip at
1894, in reference to a kind of popping sound, of echoic origin. Radar screen sense is from 1945. As a verb from 1924. Related: Blipped; blipping.
bliss (n.) Look up bliss at
Old English blis, also bliðs "bliss, merriment, happiness, grace, favor," from Proto-Germanic *blithsjo (cognates: Old Saxon blidsea, blizza), from *blithiz "gentle, kind" + *-tjo noun suffix. Originally mostly of earthly happiness; influenced by association with bless and blithe.
bliss (v.) Look up bliss at
often with out, by 1973, U.S. colloquial, from bliss (n.).
blissful (adj.) Look up blissful at
late 12c., blisfulle, from bliss + -ful. Related: Blissfully; blissfulness.
blister (n.) Look up blister at
c. 1300, perhaps via Old French blestre "blister, lump, bump," from a Scandinavian source (compare Old Norse blastr "a blowing," dative blæstri "swelling"), or from Middle Dutch blyster "swelling;" perhaps from PIE *bhlei- "to blow, swell," extension of root *bhel- (2) "to blow, inflate, swell;" see bole.
blister (v.) Look up blister at
"to become covered in blisters," late 15c.; "to raise blisters on," 1540s, from blister (n.). Related: Blistered; blistering.
blite (n.) Look up blite at
spinach, or plants like it, early 15c., from Latin blitum, from Greek bliton, which is of unknown origin.
blithe (adj.) Look up blithe at
Old English bliþe "joyous, kind, cheerful, pleasant," from Proto-Germanic *blithiz "gentle, kind" (cognates: Old Saxon bliði "bright, happy," Middle Dutch blide, Dutch blijde, Old Norse bliðr "mild, gentle," Old High German blidi "gay, friendly," Gothic bleiþs "kind, friendly, merciful").

Rare since 16c. No cognates outside Germanic. "The earlier application was to the outward expression of kindly feeling, sympathy, affection to others, as in Gothic and ON.; but in OE. the word had come more usually to be applied to the external manifestation of one's own pleased or happy frame of mind, and hence even to the state itself." [OED]
blither (v.) Look up blither at
1868, variant of blether "talk nonsense," 1520s, a northern British and Scottish word, from Middle English blather (see blather (v.)). Related: Blithered; blithering.
blithering (adj.) Look up blithering at
1880, present participle adjective (from the first typically with idiot) from blither (v.) "to talk nonsense." From 1872 as a verbal noun.
blithesome (adj.) Look up blithesome at
1724, from blithe + -some (1). An adjective from an adjective. Related: Blithesomely; blithesomeness.
blitz (n.) Look up blitz at
"sudden overwhelming attack," 1940, shortening of blitzkrieg (1939). The use in U.S. football is from 1959. As a verb, 1940, from the noun. Related: Blitzed; blitzing.
blitzkrieg (n.) Look up blitzkrieg at
"rapid attack," 1939, from German Blitzkrieg, from Blitz "lightning" (from Middle High German blicze, back-formation from bliczen "to flash," from Old High German blecchazzen "to flash, lighten" (8c.), from Proto-Germanic *blikkatjan, from PIE root *bhel- (1) "to shine, flash, burn;" see bleach (v.)) + Krieg "war" (see kriegspiel).
blizzard (n.) Look up blizzard at
"strong, sustained snowstorm," 1859, origin obscure (perhaps somehow connected with blaze (n.1)); it came into general use in the U.S. in this sense in the hard winter 1880-81. OED says it probably is "more or less onomatopœic," and adds "there is nothing to indicate a French origin." Before that it typically meant "violent blow," also "hail of gunfire" in American English from 1829, and blizz "violent rainstorm" is attested from 1770. The winter storm sense perhaps is originally a colloquial figurative use in the Upper Midwest of the U.S.
bloat (v.) Look up bloat at
1670s, "to cause to swell" (earlier, in reference to cured fish, "to cause to be soft," 1610s), from now obsolete bloat (adj.), attested from c. 1300 as "soft, flabby, flexible, pliable," but by 17c. meaning "puffed up, swollen." Perhaps from a Scandinavian source akin to Old Norse blautr "soaked, soft from being cooked in liquid" (compare Swedish blöt fisk "soaked fish"), possibly from Proto-Germanic *blaut-, from PIE *bhleu- "to swell, well up, overflow," an extension of root *bhel- (2) "to blow, inflate, swell" (see bole).

Influenced by or combined with Old English blawan "blow, puff." Figurative use by 1711. Intransitive meaning "to swell, to become swollen" is from 1735. Related: Bloated; bloating.
bloat (n.) Look up bloat at
1860 as a disease of livestock, from bloat (v.). Meaning "bloatedness" is from 1905.
bloated (adj.) Look up bloated at
"overgrown," 1660s, past participle adjective from bloat (v.). Figurative sense by 1711.
blob (n.) Look up blob at
"drop, globule," 1725, from a verb meaning "to make or mark with blobs" (early 15c.), perhaps related to bubble. The same word was used 16c. in a sense "bubble, blister."
bloc (n.) Look up bloc at
1903, in reference to alliances in Continental politics, from French bloc "group, block," from Old French bloc "piece of wood" (see block (n.)).
block (n.) Look up block at
"solid piece," c. 1300, from Old French bloc "log, block" of wood (13c.), via Middle Dutch bloc "trunk of a tree" or Old High German bloh, from a common Germanic source, from PIE *bhlugo-, from *bhelg- "a thick plank, beam" (see balk).

Meaning "mould for a hat" is from 1570s. Slang sense of "head" is from 1630s. Extended sense of "obstruction" is first recorded 1640s. In cricket from 1825; in U.S. football from 1912. The meaning in city block is 1796, from the notion of a "compact mass" of buildings; slang meaning "fashionable promenade" is 1869.
BLOCK. A term applied in America to a square mass of houses included between four streets. It is a very useful one. [Bartlett]
block (v.) Look up block at
"obstruct," 1590s, from French bloquer "to block, stop up," from Old French bloc (see block (n.)). Meaning "to make smooth or to give shape on a block" is from 1620s. Stage and theater sense is from 1961. Sense in cricket is from 1772; in U.S. football from 1889. Related: Blocked; blocking.
blockade (n.) Look up blockade at
mid-17c., from block (v.) + -ade, false French ending (the French word is blocus, 18c. in this sense, which seems to be in part a back-formation from the verb bloquer and in part influenced by Middle Dutch blokhuus "blockhouse").
blockade (v.) Look up blockade at
late 17c., from blockade (n.). Related: Blockaded; blockading.
blockage (n.) Look up blockage at
1827, from block (v.) + -age.
blockbuster (n.) Look up blockbuster at
also block-buster, big bomb (4,000 pounds or larger, according to some sources), 1942, from block (n.) in the "built-up city square" sense. Entertainment sense is attested from 1957. U.S. sense of "real estate broker who sells a house to a black family on an all-white neighborhood," thus sparking an exodus, is from 1955.
blocker (n.) Look up blocker at
c. 1400 of a tool, c. 1600 of a person, agent noun from block (v.). U.S. football sense from 1914.