Etymology
Advertisement

Words related to *bhle-

*bhel- (2)
Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to blow, swell," "with derivatives referring to various round objects and to the notion of tumescent masculinity" [Watkins].

It forms all or part of: bale (n.) "large bundle or package of merchandise prepared for transportation;" baleen; ball (n.1) "round object, compact spherical body;" balloon; ballot; bawd; bold; bole; boll; bollocks; bollix; boulder; boulevard; bowl (n.) "round pot or cup;" bulk; bull (n.1) "bovine male animal;" bullock; bulwark; follicle; folly; fool; foosball; full (v.) "to tread or beat cloth to cleanse or thicken it;" ithyphallic; pall-mall; phallus.

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Greek phyllon "leaf," phallos "swollen penis;" Latin flos "flower," florere "to blossom, flourish," folium "leaf;" Old Prussian balsinis "cushion;" Old Norse belgr "bag, bellows;" Old English bolla "pot, cup, bowl;" Old Irish bolgaim "I swell," blath "blossom, flower," bolach "pimple," bolg "bag;" Breton bolc'h "flax pod;" Serbian buljiti "to stare, be bug-eyed;" Serbo-Croatian blazina "pillow."

An extended form of the root, *bhelgh- "to swell," forms all or part of: bellows; belly; bilge; billow; bolster; budget; bulge; Excalibur; Firbolgs.

An extended form of the root, *bhleu- "to swell, well up, overflow," forms all or part of: affluent; bloat; confluence; effluent; effluvium; efflux; fluctuate; fluent; fluid; flume; fluor; fluorescence; fluoride; fluoro-; flush (v.1) "spurt, rush out suddenly, flow with force;" fluvial; flux; influence; influenza; influx; mellifluous; phloem; reflux; superfluous.
Advertisement
afflatus (n.)
"miraculous communication of supernatural knowledge or power," 1660s, from Latin afflatus "a breathing upon, blast," figuratively "inspiration," noun use of past participle of afflare "to blow upon," from ad "to" (see ad-) + flare "to blow" (from PIE root *bhle- "to blow"). The literal meaning "a blowing or breathing upon" is rare in English, this sense being taken by afflation.
bladder (n.)
Old English blædre (West Saxon), bledre (Anglian) "(urinary) bladder," also "blister, pimple," from Proto-Germanic *blodram "something inflated" (source also of Old Norse blaðra, Old Saxon bladara, Old High German blattara, German Blatter, Dutch blaar), from PIE root *bhle- "to blow." Extended senses from early 13c. from animal bladders used for buoyancy, storage, etc.
blase (adj.)
"bored from overindulgence, weary of the pleasures of life," 1819 [Byron], from French blasé, past participle of blaser "to satiate" (17c.), which is of unknown origin. Perhaps from Dutch blazen "to blow" (ultimately from PIE root *bhle- "to blow"), with a sense of "puffed up under the effects of drinking."
blast (n.)

Old English blæst "a blowing, a breeze, puff of wind," from Proto-Germanic *bles- (source also of Old Norse blastr, Old High German blast "a blowing, blast"), from PIE root *bhle- "to blow."

Meaning "explosion" is from 1630s; that of "noisy party, good time" is from 1953, American English slang. Sense of "strong current of air forced into a furnace to accelerate combustion for iron-smelting" (1690s) led to blast furnace (1706) and transferred American English sense in full blast "the extreme" (1836). Blast was the usual word for "a smoke of tobacco" c. 1600.

blather (v.)
1520s, blether, Scottish, probably from a Scandinavian source such as Old Norse blaðra "mutter, wag the tongue," perhaps of imitative origin, or from Proto-Germanic *blodram "something inflated" (the source of bladder). Related: Blathered; blathering.
blaze (v.2)
"make public" (often in a bad sense, boastfully), late 14c., of uncertain origin, the verb not being found in Old English; perhaps from Middle Dutch blasen "to blow" (on a trumpet), from Proto-Germanic *blaes-an (source also of German blasen, Gothic -blesan), from PIE root *bhle- "to blow." Or connected to blaze (v.1) on the notion of "shine forth."
blow (v.1)

"move air, produce a current of air," Old English blawan "to blow (of the wind, bellows, etc.), breathe, make an air current; kindle; inflate; sound (a wind instrument)" (class VII strong verb; past tense bleow, past participle blawen), from Proto-Germanic *blæ-anan (source of Old High German blaen, German blähen), from PIE root *bhle- "to blow."

Transitive sense of "carry by a wind or current of air" is from c. 1300; that of "to fill with air, inflate" is from late 14c. Of noses from 1530s; of electrical fuses from 1902. Meaning "to squander" (money) is from 1874; meaning "lose or bungle (an opportunity, etc.) is by 1943. Sense of "depart (some place) suddenly" is from 1902. For sexual sense, see blow-job.

As a colloquial imprecation by 1781, associated with sailors (as in Popeye's "well, blow me down!"); it has past participle blowed.

To blow (a candle, etc.) out "extinguish by a current of air" is from late 14c. To blow over "pass" is from 1610s, originally of storms. To blow hot and cold "vacillate" is from 1570s. To blow off steam (1837) is a figurative use from steam engines releasing pressure. Slang blow (someone or something) off "dismiss, ignore" is by 1986. To blow (someone's) mind was in use by 1967; there is a song title "Blow Your Mind" released in a 1965 Mirawood recording by a group called The Gas Company.

conflate (v.)

mid-15c., "to mold or cast from molten metal" (a sense now obsolete), from Latin conflatus, past participle of conflare "to blow up, kindle, light; bring together, compose," also "to melt together," literally "to blow together," from assimilated form of com "with, together" (see con-) + flare "to blow" (from PIE root *bhle- "to blow").

From c. 1600 as "to bring together from various sources." In reference to text, "to form by inadvertent combination of two readings of the same words," from 1885.

deflate (v.)

1891, in reference to balloons, a coinage (with de-) based on inflate (q.v.). Latin deflare meant "to blow away," but in the English word the prefix has the sense of "down." Related: Deflated; deflating.