Definition of Bluebeard in English:


proper noun

  • 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. 1.1A man who murders his wives.
      ‘you seem to imply I'm some sort of Bluebeard who keeps her incarcerated’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’