One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A character in a tale by Charles Perrault, who killed several wives in turn for disobeying his order to avoid a locked room, which contained the bodies of his previous wives. Local tradition in Brittany identifies him with Gilles de Rais (c.1400–40), a perpetrator of atrocities, although he had only one wife (who left him).
- 1.1as noun a Bluebeard A man who murders his wives.‘you seem to imply I'm some sort of Bluebeard who keeps her incarcerated’
- ‘We have graduated in a single generation from the bogeyman of the Vietnam vet turned sociopath to the bogeyman of the antiwar radical turned Bluebeard.’
- ‘Yet Torquilstone is more of a Bluebeard's castle than a Briar Rose's castle, ruled over as it is by a Norman robber baron.’
- ‘In my mind he assumes the proportions of a Bluebeard, all the more sinister for being so thoroughly outwardly respectable.’
- ‘Every effort to locate either earlier tellings of these two tales has failed, a real-world Bluebeard who murdered wives in his castle is a post-Perrault creation.’
- 1.1as noun a Bluebeard A man who murders his wives.
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