Definition of blues in English:

blues

plural noun

  • 1often the blues[treated as singular or plural] Melancholic music of black American folk origin, typically in a twelve-bar sequence. It developed in the rural southern US towards the end of the 19th century, finding a wider audience in the 1940s, as blacks migrated to the cities. This urban blues gave rise to rhythm and blues and rock and roll:

    ‘blues has always had a strong following in Australia’
    [as modifier] ‘a blues singer’
    • ‘Just don't get him started on jazz or, worse, the blues.’
    • ‘By the mid-'60s, younger British musicians were adapting the urban blues as well.’
    • ‘Some people like jazz, or rock and roll or the blues.’
    • ‘It has further enhanced by love for rock and the blues for its simplicity of groove and expression.’
    • ‘Here she is not only a blues poet, but also a part of a blues people grounded in a specific set of conditions that give birth to the blues as music and as world view.’
    • ‘The great African-American exodus from the south during the first half of the twentieth century spawned a new form of urban electric-based blues.’
    • ‘What emerges from this mixture is a very American sound that mixes jazz, country and western, rock, popular song, folk, and the blues.’
    • ‘That progressed from the blues into folk and gospel music and things like that.’
    • ‘This gradual migration of the blues from a rural to an urban setting had an unexpected effect on the music.’
    • ‘Rather my objectives flow from a desire to revitalize our assumptions about the concepts of empowerment and agency in relation to black women and the blues.’
    • ‘It was the blues with energy, music from the heart, played on whatever was around.’
    • ‘Although the origins of the blues may never be known, the Mississippi Delta has been called the ‘home of the blues.’’
    • ‘At the same time, the rise of blues festivals across the country has further commodified the blues as a feel-good music geared largely to whites.’
    • ‘Now, just like with rock music philosophy, blues rests on the notion of the mythological, endless Saturday night.’
    • ‘For years, pedantic scholars have crowed about the debt rock owes the blues.’
    • ‘Yet all this activity detailing the history of the blues during the twentieth century obscures a few thorny questions.’
    • ‘She plays the blues as filtered through the best punk rock.’
    • ‘People never know if my music is jazz or blues or folk or pop, but I don't know how to put myself into a category.’
    • ‘Susan adds her dazzling jazz sound of silky vocals and sultry twists to eleven recordings ranging from traditional and folk to the blues.’
    • ‘And this is before the great twentieth-century migrations of blacks and the blues.’
    1. 1.1[treated as singular] A piece of blues music:
      ‘a blues in C’
      • ‘‘I love her because she would sing all over the song, rather than just do it straight, and she could sing a standard in a gritty gospel style then do a blues and just kill everyone in the room.’’
      • ‘I'm going to do a Blues and then I get into a Ballad and then...?’
      • ‘Each book contains ballads, blues, Latin pieces and rags.’
      • ‘They did a blues and an assortment of standards.’
  • 2the bluesinformal Feelings of melancholy, sadness, or depression:

    ‘she's got the blues’
    • ‘Welford argues that there are three different forms of ‘postnatal distress’: the blues, PND and psychosis.’
    • ‘Nearly everyone has had the blues at one time or another.’
    • ‘Now we're learning that lower primates can get the blues, too.’
    • ‘Depression is more than getting a bad case of the blues.’
    • ‘You say you've got the blues in your alligator shoes.’
    • ‘Talk about the blues, man - he just can't win.’
    • ‘Chatting to this bubbly rowing ambassadress, it is hard to believe that she ever suffers from the blues, but settling for second best would signal negative feelings this time.’
    • ‘A collection of amusing animal photos as well as warm and inspirational texts designed to cheer up anyone who's got the blues.’
    • ‘It's an attack of poison ivy, teenage angst and the blues all rolled into one unscratchable scourge.’
    • ‘It's closing time at the last mall on Earth, so you'd best stock up on ‘medicine for the blues.’’
    • ‘Your bud's got the blues: you have a bud who's just not herself lately?’
    • ‘If you're suffering from the blues and want to see if a natural approach can help, discuss taking a medication with your doctor.’
    • ‘A gents' hairdresser has got the barber's blues after thieves swiped the trademark poles which have stood outside his salon for 50 years.’
    • ‘He was basically a rich kid coming up, but he got the blues down deep in his own way.’
    • ‘I've got a blue motel room, with a blue bedspread I've got the blues inside and outside my head…’
    • ‘Well, you try cleaning the algae from an Olympic sized swimming pool on a balmy summer's day without getting some form of the blues!’
    • ‘I had a bad case of the heart burns; a bad case of the blues.’
    • ‘It also benefits from stunning scenery and has a climate to soothe all winter blues.’
    • ‘Depression goes well beyond a simple case of the blues.’
    • ‘Depression is almost unknown to these individuals because they are all so optimistic and active that they have little time for self-pity or the blues.’
    depression, sadness, unhappiness, melancholy, misery, sorrow, gloominess, gloom, dejection, downheartedness, despondency, dispiritedness, low spirits, heavy-heartedness, glumness, moroseness, dismalness, despair
    the doldrums
    the dumps
    View synonyms

Origin

Mid 18th century (in blues): elliptically from blue devils ‘depression or delirium tremens’.

Pronunciation:

blues

/bluːz/