bloody


bloody
{{11}}bloody (adj.) O.E. blodig, adjective from blod (see BLOOD (Cf. blood)). Common Germanic, Cf. O.Fris. blodich, O.S. blôdag, Du. bloedig, O.H.G. bluotag, Ger. blutig. It has been a British intens. swear word since at least 1676. Weekley relates it to the purely intensive use of the cognate Du. bloed, Ger. Blut. But perhaps it ultimately is connected with bloods in the slang sense of "rowdy young aristocrats" (see BLOOD (Cf. blood) (n.)) via expressions such as bloody drunk "as drunk as a blood." Partridge reports that it was "respectable" before c.1750, and it was used by Fielding and Swift, but heavily tabooed c.1750-c.1920, perhaps from imagined association with menstruation; Johnson calls it "very vulgar," and OED writes of it, "now constantly in the mouths of the lowest classes, but by respectable people considered 'a horrid word', on par with obscene or profane language."
The onset of the taboo against bloody coincides with the increase in linguistic prudery that presaged the Victorian Era but it is hard to say what the precise cause was in the case of this specific word. Attempts have been made to explain the term's extraordinary shock power by invoking etymology. Theories that derive it from such oaths as “By our Lady” or “God's blood” seem farfetched, however. More likely, the taboo stemmed from the fear that many people have of blood and, in the minds of some, from an association with menstrual bleeding. Whatever, the term was debarred from polite society during the whole of the nineteenth century. [Rawson]
Shaw shocked theatergoers when he put it in the mouth of Eliza Doolittle in "Pygmalion" (1914), and for a time the word was known euphemistically as "the Shavian adjective." It was avoided in print as late as 1936. Bloody Sunday, Jan. 30, 1972, when 13 civilians were killed by British troops at protest in Londonderry, Northern Ireland.
{{12}}bloody (v.) 1520s, from BLOODY (Cf. bloody) (adj.). Related: Bloodied; bloodying. O.E. had blodigan "to make bloody," but the modern word seems to be a later formation.

Etymology dictionary. 2014.

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  • Bloody — is the adjectival form of blood but may also be used as an expletive attributive (intensifier) in Australia, Britain, Ireland, Canada, South East Asia, New Zealand, and Sri Lanka. Nowadays it is considered (by most of the population of these… …   Wikipedia

  • bloody — 1. Bloody developed its meaning in BrE as ‘a vague epithet expressing anger, resentment, etc.’ in the 18c, and rapidly became a mere intensive, especially in negative contexts (not a bloody one). The OED called it ‘foul language’, and as recently …   Modern English usage

  • bloody — bloody, sanguinary, sanguine, sanguineous, gory are comparable when they mean affected by or involving the shedding of blood. Bloody may be used in place of any of the succeeding words, but it specifically and distinctively applies to that which… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • Bloody — Blood y, a. [AS. bl[=o]dig.] 1. Containing or resembling blood; of the nature of blood; as, bloody excretions; bloody sweat. [1913 Webster] 2. Smeared or stained with blood; as, bloody hands; a bloody handkerchief. [1913 Webster] 3. Given, or… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • bloody — bloody; bloody·bones; bloody·noun; un·bloody; …   English syllables

  • bloody — bləd ē adj, blood·i·er; est 1 a) containing or made up of blood b) of or contained in the blood 2 a) smeared or stained with blood b) dripping blood: BLEEDING <a bloody nose> blood·i·ly bləd əl ē adv …   Medical dictionary

  • bloody — [adj1] bleeding blood soaked, bloodspattered, bloodstained, crimson, ensanguined, gaping, gory, grisly, hematic, hemic, imbrued, open, raw, sanguinary, sanguine, unstaunched, unstopped, wounded; concept 485 bloody [adj2] hard fought bloodthirsty …   New thesaurus

  • Bloody — Blood y, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Bloodied}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Bloodying}.] To stain with blood. Overbury. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Bloody 27 — can refer to* The nickname for a portion of Highway 27 U.S. Route 27 located near the Florida Everglades * The title of a 2008 Horror Film …   Wikipedia

  • bloody — index brutal Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • bloody — ► ADJECTIVE (bloodier, bloodiest) 1) covered with or composed of blood. 2) involving much violence or cruelty. ► VERB (bloodies, bloodied) ▪ cover or stain with blood. DERIVATIVES …   English terms dictionary


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