One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Nautical. A pyrotechnic preparation which burns with a blue flame and is used to send signals, especially at night-time. Now historical.
2US informal (chiefly derogatory). A New England federalist who opposed the Anglo-American war of 1812–15; (later more generally) a federalist, a person perceived as disloyal. Frequently attributive Now historical.
Mid 18th century; earliest use found in Richard Cambridge (1717–1802), poet and essayist. From blue + light.
blue light/ˌbluː ˈlʌɪt/
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