blende (n.) Look up blende at
an ore of zinc and other metals, 1680s, from German Blende, a back-formation from blenden "to blind, deceive" (see blind (adj.)). Said by German sources to be so called because it resembles lead but does not yield any.
blender (n.) Look up blender at
person or thing that blends, 1872 (as a type of artist's brush), agent noun from blend (v.). As a type of electric-powered food processor, from 1942.
blenny (n.) Look up blenny at
type of small fish, 1774, from Latin blennius (in Pliny), from Greek blennos, from blenna "slime, mucus," from PIE *mled-sno-, suffixed form of root *mel- (1) "soft." The fish so called from the coating on its scales.
blepharoplasty (n.) Look up blepharoplasty at
"surgical operation of making a new eyelid from transplanted skin," 1839, from blepharo-, from Greek blepharon "eyelid" (related to blepein "to look, see") + -plasty.
bless (v.) Look up bless at
Old English bletsian, bledsian, Northumbrian bloedsian "to consecrate by a religious rite, make holy, give thanks," from Proto-Germanic *blodison "hallow with blood, mark with blood," from *blotham "blood" (see blood (n.)). Originally a blood sprinkling on pagan altars.

This word was chosen in Old English bibles to translate Latin benedicere and Greek eulogein, both of which have a ground sense of "to speak well of, to praise," but were used in Scripture to translate Hebrew brk "to bend (the knee), worship, praise, invoke blessings." L.R. Palmer ("The Latin Language") writes, "There is nothing surprising in the semantic development of a word denoting originally a special ritual act into the more generalized meanings to 'sacrifice,' 'worship,' 'bless,' " and he compares Latin immolare (see immolate).

The meaning shifted in late Old English toward "pronounce or make happy, prosperous, or fortunate" by resemblance to unrelated bliss. Meaning "invoke or pronounce God's blessing upon" is from early 14c. No cognates in other languages. Related: Blessed; blessing.
blessed (adj.) Look up blessed at
late 12c., "supremely happy," also "consecrated, holy" (c. 1200), past participle adjective from bless (v.). Reversed or ironic sense of "cursed, damned" is recorded from 1806. Related: Blessedly; blessedness.
blessing (n.) Look up blessing at
Old English bletsunga, bledsunge, verbal noun from bless. Meaning "a gift from God, temporal or spiritual benefit" is from mid-14c. In sense of "religious invocation before a meal" it is recorded from 1738. Phrase blessing in disguise is recorded from 1746.
blest Look up blest at
alternative (contracted) past tense and past participle of bless.
bleu Look up bleu at
French form of blue (1), used from c. 1890 in names of various French blue cheeses (French fromage bleu) marketed in Britain and U.S.
blew Look up blew at
Old English bleow, past tense of blow (v.1).
blight (n.) Look up blight at
1610s, origin obscure; according to OED it emerged into literary speech from the talk of gardeners and farmers. It is perhaps from Old English blæce, blæcðu, a scrofulous skin condition and/or from Old Norse blikna "become pale" (from the group including bleach, bleak, etc.). Used in a general way of agricultural diseases, sometimes with suggestion of "invisible baleful influence;" hence figurative sense of "anything which withers hopes or prospects or checks prosperity" (1660s). Compare slang blighter. Urban blight "condition of disrepair and poverty in a previously thriving part of a city" attested by 1935.
blight (v.) Look up blight at
"afflict with blight, cause to wither or decay," 1660s (implied in blighted), from blight (n.). Figurative sense of "exert a baleful influence on" is by 1712. Related: Blighted; blighting.
blighter (n.) Look up blighter at
1769, "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
"non-rigid airship," 1916, of obscure origin, with many claimants (even J.R.R. Tolkien had a guess at it). "One of the weird coinages of the airmen" [Weekley]. Common theory (which dates to 1919) 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.), but references are wanting. There apparently was a type b in the U.S. military's development program for airships in World War I.
blind (v.) Look up blind at
"make blind, deprive of sight," early 13c., from Old English blendan "to blind, deprive of sight; deceive," from Proto-Germanic *blandjan (source also of Old Frisian blinda, Dutch blinden, Old High German blinden "become blind;" Danish blinde, Gothic gablindjan "make 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 blind (adj.)). Form influenced in Middle English by the adjective. Related: Blinded; blinding.
blind (adj.) Look up blind at
Old English blind "destitute of sight," also "dark, enveloped in darkness, obscure; unintelligent, lacking mental perception," probably from Proto-Germanic *blinda- "blind" (source also of 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." 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 (1580s; 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]
Meaning "not directed or controlled by reason" was in Old English. Meaning "without opening for admitting light or seeing through" is from c. 1600. In reference to acting without seeing or investigating first, by 1840; of aviators flying without instruments or without clear observation, from 1919.
blind (n.) Look up blind at
"a blind person; blind persons collectively," late Old English, from blind (adj.). Meaning "place of concealment," especially for a hunter or fowler, 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; of the event by 1925.
blind side (n.) Look up blind side at
"weak or unguarded aspect of a person or thing," c. 1600; see blind (adj.). As a verb, also 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 but where one cannot see," from blind (adj.) + spot (n.). Of the point on the retina insensitive to light (where the optic nerve enters the eye), from 1872. Figurative sense (of moral, intellectual, etc. sight) by 1907.
blinded (adj.) Look up blinded at
"made blind," 1590s, past participle adjective from blind (v.). Figurative sense is earlier (1530s).
blinder (n.) Look up blinder at
1580s, agent noun from blind (v.). In 19c. use, especially of blinkers for horses (1809); often figurative. They were said to prevent the horse looking around and being startled by peripheral movements and to keep it steady at its work, but many equestrian authorities railed against them as cruel and unnecessary. Related: Blinders.
blindfold (n.) Look up blindfold at
1880, "something wrapped around the head over the eyes to take away vision," from blindfold (v.). Earlier in this sense was blindfolder (1640s).
blindfold (v.) Look up blindfold at
"to cover the eyes to hinder from seeing," a mistaken formation ultimately from Old English (ge)blindfellian "to strike blind," from blind (adj.) + Anglian gefeollan "to strike down, make fall, cause to fall" (see fell (v.1)).

This became Middle English blindfellen "to strike blind," also "to cover (the eyes) to block vision" (c. 1200). This was most common in the past-participle, blindfelled, blindfeld," whence the -d was, in the 15th c., erroneously admitted to the stem of the vb." [OED]. It was further altered early 16c. by similarity to fold, from the notion of "folding" a band of cloth over the eyes. Related: Blindfolded; blindfolding.
blinding (adj.) Look up blinding at
"making blind, depriving of light," 1737, past participle adjective from blind (v.). Related: Blindingly.
blindly (adv.) Look up blindly at
"in a blind manner; without sight; without reasoning," Old English blindlice; see blind (adj.) + -ly (2).
blindman (n.) Look up blindman at
also blind-man, "blind person," early 14c., from blind (adj.) + man (n.). Children's game of blindman's buff attested from 1580s; the blindfolded person tries to catch the others, "who, on their part, push him about and make sport with him" [OED]; from buff "a buffet, blow" (see buffet (n.2)). Alternative form blindman's bluff is by 1880s. Such a game formerly was called hoodman-blind (1560s).
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" (from PIE root *bhel- (1) "to shine, flash, burn").

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."

Originally with a vague and shifting set of meanings, many now obsolete, having to do with motion of the eyes; in earlier use "the notion of 'glancing' predominates; in the latter, that of 'winking'" [OED]. Meaning "cast a sudden, fleeting light" is from 1786; that of "shut the eyes momentarily and involuntarily" is from 1858. 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," of uncertain origin, perhaps from a continental Germanic language; see blink (v.). As is the case with the verb, there is a similar noun in Middle English, from c. 1300, that might represent a native form of the same root. Meaning "action of blinking" is from 1924. From the sense "a flicker, a spark," comes on the blink "nearly extinguished," hence "not functioning" (1901).
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 (compare blinder). 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, which is perhaps ultimately from PIE root *mele- "to crush, grind."
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 (v.) Look up bliss at
often with out, by 1973, U.S. colloquial, from bliss (n.).
bliss (n.) Look up bliss at
Old English blis, also bliðs "bliss, merriment, happiness, grace, favor," from Proto-Germanic *blithsjo (source also of Old Saxon blidsea, blizza), from *blithiz "gentle, kind" (see blithe) + *-tjo noun suffix. Originally mostly of earthly happiness, in later Old English of spiritual joy, perfect felicity, the joy of heaven; influenced by association with unrelated bless.
blissful (adj.) Look up blissful at
late 12c., blisfulle, from bliss (n.) + -ful. Related: Blissfully; blissfulness.
blister (n.) Look up blister at
c. 1300, "thin vesicle on the skin containing watery matter," 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;" all perhaps from PIE *bhlei- "to blow, swell," extension of root *bhel- (2) "to blow, swell."
blister (v.) Look up blister at
late 15c., "to become covered in blisters;," 1540s, "to raise blisters on," 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" (source also of 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"). Related: Blithely.

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]. Rare since 16c.
blither (v.) Look up blither at
1868, variant of blether "talk nonsense" (1520s), a northern British and Scottish word (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
"full of gaiety, cheerful," 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 Krieg "war" (see kriegspiel) + 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."