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."
The meaning "explosion" is from 1630s; that of "noisy party, good time" is by 1953, American English slang. The sense of "strong current of air forced into a furnace to accelerate combustion for iron-smelting" (1690s) led to blast furnace (1706) and the transferred American English sense in full blast "to or at the extreme" (1836). Blast was the usual word for "a smoke of tobacco" c. 1600.
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.
updated on October 14, 2022
Dictionary entries near blast