Entries related to blindness
Old English blind "destitute of sight," also "dark, enveloped in darkness, obscure; unintelligent, lacking mental perception," probably from Proto-Germanic *blindaz "blind" (source also of Old Frisian, Old Saxon, 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."
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).
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.
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]
word-forming element denoting action, quality, or state, attached to an adjective or past participle to form an abstract noun, from Old English -nes(s), from Proto-Germanic *in-assu- (cognates: Old Saxon -nissi, Middle Dutch -nisse, Dutch -nis, Old High German -nissa, German -nis, Gothic -inassus), from *-in-, originally belonging to the noun stem, + *-assu-, abstract noun suffix, probably from the same root as Latin -tudo (see -tude).
also colour-blindness, "incapacity for perceiving certain colors due to an absence or weakness of the sensation upon which the power of distinguishing them depends," 1844, the native word, used in England instead of French daltonisme (by 1828), after English chemist John Dalton (1766-1844), who published a description of it in 1794. From color (n.) + blindness.
The continental philosophers have named it Daltonism, a name which has been strongly objected to by almost every English writer who has discussed the subject, on the ground of the inexpediency and undesirableness of immortalizing the imperfections or personal peculiarities of celebrated men by title of this kind. ... The name "Color-Blindness," proposed by Sir D. Brewster, seems in every respect unexceptionable. [Littell's Living Age, vol. v, April 1845]
Noted as inexact (very few people who can see are blind to all color), "the term is applied with much laxity to any constitutional inability to discriminate between colours" [OED]. In figurative use, with reference to race or ethnicity, it is attested from 1866, American English. Related: color-blind (adj.), which is attested from 1854.