Advertisement

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.

blow (v.2)

"to bloom, blossom, put forth flowers" (intransitive), from Old English blowan "to flower, blossom, flourish," from Proto-Germanic *blæ- (source also of Old Saxon bloian, Old Frisian bloia, Middle Dutch and Dutch bloeien, Old High German bluoen, German blühen), from PIE root *bhel- (3) "to thrive, bloom." This verb is the source of the blown in full-blown. Figurative sense of "attain perfection" is from c. 1600.

blow (n.1)

"a hard hit (with a fist)," mid-15c., blaw, blowe, from northern and East Midlands dialects, perhaps from Middle Dutch blouwen "to beat," or an unrecorded Old English cognate. The ordinary Old English word for "to strike" was slean (see slay. A common Germanic word; compare German bleuen, Gothic bliggwan "to strike."

Influenced in English by blow (v.1). Figurative sense of "a sudden shock or calamity" is from 1670s. To come to blows "engage in combat" is from 1650s (fall to blows is from 1590s). In reference to descriptions or accounts, blow-by-blow is recorded from 1921, American English, originally of detailed accounts in prize-fight broadcasts.

LIKE a hungry kitten loves its saucer of warm milk, so do radio fans joyfully listen to the blow-by-blow broadcast description of a boxing bout. ["The Wireless Age," December 1922]

blow (n.2)

"a blowing, a blast of wind," c. 1500, from blow (v.1).

Others are reading

Advertisement
Advertisement
Definitions of blow from WordNet
1
blow (v.)
exhale hard;
blow on the soup to cool it down
blow (v.)
be blowing or storming;
The wind blew from the West
blow (v.)
free of obstruction by blowing air through;
blow one's nose
blow (v.)
be in motion due to some air or water current;
The leaves were blowing in the wind
Synonyms: float / drift / be adrift
blow (v.)
make a sound as if blown;
The whistle blew
blow (v.)
shape by blowing;
blow (v.)
be inadequate or objectionable;
this blows!
Synonyms: suck
blow (v.)
make a mess of, destroy or ruin;
Synonyms: botch / bodge / bumble / fumble / botch up / muff / flub / screw up / ball up / spoil / muck up / bungle / fluff / bollix / bollix up / bollocks / bollocks up / bobble / mishandle / louse up / foul up / mess up / fuck up
blow (v.)
spend thoughtlessly; throw away;
Synonyms: waste / squander
blow (v.)
spend lavishly or wastefully on;
He blew a lot of money on his new home theater
blow (v.)
sound by having air expelled through a tube;
The trumpets blew
blow (v.)
play or sound a wind instrument;
She blew the horn
blow (v.)
provide sexual gratification through oral stimulation;
Synonyms: fellate / suck / go down on
blow (v.)
cause air to go in, on, or through;
blow (v.)
cause to move by means of an air current;
The wind blew the leaves around in the yard
blow (v.)
spout moist air from the blowhole;
The whales blew
blow (v.)
leave; informal or rude;
let's blow this place
Synonyms: shove off / shove along
blow (v.)
lay eggs;
certain insects are said to blow
blow (v.)
cause to be revealed and jeopardized;
The story blew their cover
The double agent was blown by the other side
blow (v.)
show off;
Synonyms: boast / tout / swash / shoot a line / brag / gas / bluster / vaunt / gasconade
blow (v.)
allow to regain its breath;
blow a horse
blow (v.)
melt, break, or become otherwise unusable;
The fuse blew
The lightbulbs blew out
Synonyms: blow out / burn out
blow (v.)
burst suddenly;
The tire blew
We blew a tire
2
blow (n.)
a powerful stroke with the fist or a weapon;
a blow on the head
blow (n.)
an impact (as from a collision);
Synonyms: bump
blow (n.)
an unfortunate happening that hinders or impedes; something that is thwarting or frustrating;
blow (n.)
an unpleasant or disappointing surprise;
Synonyms: shock
blow (n.)
a strong current of air;
Synonyms: gust / blast
blow (n.)
street names for cocaine;
Synonyms: coke / nose candy / snow / c
blow (n.)
forceful exhalation through the nose or mouth;
he blew out all the candles with a single puff
he gave his nose a loud blow
Synonyms: puff
From wordnet.princeton.edu