Anonymous
Anonymous asked in Society & CultureLanguages · 1 decade ago

Origin of the word "bloody"?

In America, the word "bloody" means covered in blood. In the UK, the word "bloody" is used as a swear word. What do you use to describe "covered in blood"? What then is the origin of the word?

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  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    It's short for "by our Lady" which is swearing against the queen. It's like saying g-d damned.

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  • whtknt
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    I'm not British, but I should think it's the context that defines how the word is used. Just as "***" is a specific term for an animal, as well as a rather rude term for the buttocks, "bloody" can mean blood-soaked, or it can be used as an oath.

    According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, it has been "a British intens. swear word since at least 1676." That source goes on to report "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..."

    Eric Partridge, in Words, Words, Words (Methuen, 1933), suggests six possible origins, prompting the idea that blood is simply vivid or distressing as the most probable. He also downplays the suggestion that it originates from "by our Lady" (an invocation of the Virgin Mary) as being phonetically unlikely (to whit I agree).

    I've also heard it said that it comes from an old oath, "God's blood," (i.e., the blood that was shed by Jesus when He died upon the cross). The Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology says this is "probably" the origin, but the OED says "there is no ground for the notion".

    In short, we may never know for certain of the origin.

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  • AndyB
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    Excuse me, being English and a frequent user or the word bloody, I'd have to disagree with some points.

    - Firstly, it's certainly not archaic. Old, maybe, but not archaic as it is still in common usage today.

    - Secondly, it is most certainly not very vulgar. It's a very light hearted and unoffensive swear word in the scheme of things, as with bugger, git and sod, which are all quite acceptable (although still not polite). I could even get away with saying those words in front of my mother (although I'd probably get a scowl), whereas with some swear words, like crap, sh*t, etc, I'd probably get a shoe thrown at me.

    It is most likely it have been a corruption of 'by our lady', which was an archaic curse. I doubt it is an actual reference to blood, although I think the if the word 'bloody' hadn't already existed and been in usage I doubt it would have corrupted in the same fashion.

    Covered in blood is also 'bloody'. In the same way that 'stalk' can mean part of a plant or the action of stalking someone; or 'bill' can mean something you need to pay or a duck's beak.

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  • 1 decade ago

    It has two meanings in contemporary English usage. When Duncan in the first scene of Macbeth asks: "What bloody man is this?" he is referring not to a fellow whom he regards as a bit of a pain, but to a wounded solider covered in blood. That is the proper sense of the word and it is still used in this way in the UK as well as the USA. If I said "sanguineous" instead of bloody to describe a blood stained cloth, everyone would think I was pompous.

    "Bloody" as a swear word is a contraction of "By Our Lady", i.e. the Blessed Virgin Mary. In the time of Shakespeare people used to use the name "Marry" in this way.

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  • 4 years ago

    I would return that dictionary to wherever you go it and ask for your money back. Apparent whoever wrote it has no clue what they are talking about. The word "christ" means "anointed" and refers to someone who is in a special office or position of authority. It is the Greek language term from the Hebrew concept of "Messiah". The early followers of Jesus were first called "Christians" in the city of Antioch around 18 years after the crucifixion of Jesus. The word means "Little Christ", and was most likely originally a term used to mock the followers because they believe that they shared in the anointed and calling of Jesus. But the early followers took the term and turned it around, using it to refer to their wanted to be "like Christ" and follow him all the things they do and say. The word Christianity does not come from the Latin language, but from Greek. So similarly spelled word in Latin and have nothing to do with the origin or the meaning of the Green work on which "Christians" is based.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Archaic swearword originating in England, originating from the even more archaic phrase 'By God's blood', personally being english i dont see what the bloody problem is, but i even have my american fiancee saying it now..she gets some strange looks lol!! We also use the same word to describe "covered in blood" hope that helps good luck !!

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  • Sue
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    While England may have started it, Australia has made it its own! If you want proof - go to google and do a search for "the great Australian adjective". In Australia it's even inserted into the middle of a word for more emphasis "abso - bloody - lutely".

    Source(s): I am Australian - shhh don't tell
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  • 1 decade ago

    bloody adj (bloodier, bloodiest) 1 stained or covered with blood • a bloody nose. 2 involving or including much killing • met in bloody combat. 3 rather coarse slang used as an intensifier expressing annoyance, etc but sometimes almost meaningless • a bloody fool • missed the bloody bus again. Also as infix • im-bloody-possible. 4 murderous or cruel. adverb, rather coarse slang used as an intensifier; a expressing annoyance, etc but sometimes almost meaningless • I wish you'd bloody listen; b extremely • We're bloody angry about it. verb (bloodies, bloodied, bloodying) to stain or cover something with blood. bloodily adverb. bloodiness noun.

    ETYMOLOGY: Anglo-Saxon as blodig.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Bleeding and bloody in the swearing sense. Refer to menstruation.

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  • 1 decade ago

    As a curse word, it was a sort of blaspheme referring to the blood shed by Jesus. common forms used to be 'sblood or god's blood. In the same vein, the curse "zounds" used to be a euphemism for "god's wounds".

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Bloody. It's the context. Like Bush's hands are-

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