"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.
1610s, "influence, usually hidden or inconspicuous, that nips, blasts, or destroys plants," a word of obscure origin; 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.). The word came to be used in a general way of agricultural diseases, with or without suggestion of invisible baleful influence; hence the 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" is attested by 1935.
umbelliferous European plant long cultivated as food, 1660s, sellery, from French céleri (17c., originally sceleri d'Italie), said by French sources to be from Italian (Lombard dialect) seleri (singular selero), from Late Latin selinon, from Greek selinon "parsley" (in Medieval Greek "celery"), a word of uncertain origin. The c- spelling, attested by 1719 in English, is from French. Middle English words for "wild celery" were acheand selinum.
[O]ne day, in a weak and hungry moment, my roommate and I succumbed to a bit of larceny. A greengrocer's truck had parked down the street and was left unattended. We grabbed the first crate we could off the back. It turned out to be celery. For two days we ate nothing but celery and used up more calories chewing than we realized in energy. "Damn it," I said to my roommate, "What're we going to do? We can't starve." "That's funny," he replied. "I thought we could." [Chuck Jones, "Chuck Amuck," 1989]
1769, "thing which blights," agent noun from blight (v.). British colloquial sense of "contemptible person" (often jocular) is recorded from 1896.
biennial garden-herb, originally from the eastern Mediterranean; its aromatic leaves are used for flavoring and as a garnish; late 14c., a merger of Old English petersilie and Old French peresil (13c., Modern French persil), both from Medieval Latin petrosilium, an unexplained alteration of Latin petroselinum, from Greek petroselinon "rock-parsley," from petros "rock, stone" (see petrous) + selinon "celery" (see celery).
Middle English cursen, from Old English cursian, "to wish evil to; to excommunicate," from the source of curse (n.). Intransitive meaning "swear profanely, use blasphemous or profane language" is from early 13c. (compare swear (v.)). The sense of "blight with malignant evils" is from 1590s. Related: Cursed; cursing.
fungal disease of rye and other grasses, 1680s, from French ergot "ergot," also "a spur, the extremity of a dead branch," from Old French argot "cock's spur" (12c.), which is of unknown origin. The blight so called from the shape the fungus forms on the diseased grain. Related: Ergotic. An alkaloid from the fungus, ergotamine (1921) is used to treat migraines.
"sudden paralysis," especially of a part of the body, 1610s, from Latin siderationem (nominative sideratio) "blast, blight, palsy," from siderari "to be planet-struck, afflicted as if by an evil star," from stem of sidus (genitive sideris) "heavenly body, star, constellation" (see sidereal). English in 17c. also had siderated "blasted," literal or figurative.
Middle English blasten, from Old English blæstan "to blow, belch forth," from Proto-Germanic *bles- (source also of German blasen, Gothic blesan "to blow"), from PIE root *bhle- "to blow." From 16c.-19c., it often meant "to breathe on balefully, cause to wither, blight, prevent from blossoming or maturing." The meaning "to blow up by explosion" is from 1758. Related: Blasted; blasting.
"stricken by malignant forces (natural or supernatural), cursed, blighted," 1550s, from blast (v.) in its once-common sense of "balefully breathe upon, cause to wither, blight." In the sense of "cursed, damned" it is a euphemism attested from 1680s. The meaning "drunk or stoned" dates from 1972, perhaps from the condition of one so affected, but blast (v.) "smoke marijuana" is attested from 1959 and in early 17c. blast (n.) was the usual word for "a smoke of tobacco."