Online Encyclopedia

BLOOD

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V04, Page 77 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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BLOOD, the circulating fluid in the veins and arteries of animals. The word itself is common to Teutonic languages; the O. Eng. is bled, cf. Gothic bloth, Dutch bloed, Ger. Blut. It is probably ultimately connected with the root which appears in " blow," " bloom," meaning flourishing or vigorous. The Gr. word for blood, aiµa, appears as a prefix haemo- in many compound words. As that on which the life depends, as the supposed seat of the passions and emotions, and as that part which a child is believed chiefly to inherit from its parents, the word " blood " is used in many figurative and transferred senses; thus " to have his blood," " to fire the blood," " cold blood," " blood-royal," " half " or " whole blood," &c. The expression " blue blood " is from the Spanish sangre azul. The nobles of Castile claimed to be free from all admixture with the darker blood of Moors or Jews, a proof being supposed to lie in the blue veins that showed in their fairer skins. The common English expletive " bloody," used as an adjective or adverb, has been given many fanciful origins; it has been supposed to be a contraction of " by our Lady," or an adaptation of the oath common during the 17th century, " 'sblood," a contraction of " God's blood." The exact origin of the expression is not quite clear, but it is certainly merely an application of the adjective formed from " blood." The New English Dictionary suggests that it refers to the use of " blood " for a young rowdy of aristocratic birth, which was common at the end of the 17th century, and later became synonymous with " dandy," " buck," &c.; "bloody drunk " meant therefore "drunk as a blood," " drunk as a lord." The expression came into common colloquial use as a mere intensive, and was so used till the middle of the 18th century. There can be little doubt that the use of the word has been considerably affected by the idea of blood as the vital principle, and therefore something strong, vigorous, and parallel as an intensive epithet with such expressions as " thundering," " awfully " and the like.
End of Article: BLOOD
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