Definition of bluestocking in English:



  • An intellectual or literary woman.

    ‘a Victorian bluestocking’
    as modifier ‘bluestocking women’
    • ‘She's suppose to be a tomboy and bluestocking with grass in her hair from reading outside,’ he teased, a grin lighting up his sun-bronzed face.’
    • ‘More seriously, she argues that he was blackmailed into rejecting the comedy by a bluestocking who threatened to reveal that the great actor-manager's protege was his illegitimate son.’
    • ‘It is possible to see good in our ability to refuse to be stereotyped, but in a way, that black-and-white innocent age, when women were either bimbos or bluestockings, was kinder.’
    • ‘Both parties sign a contract setting out terms on which they insist, and men are presented with a variety of women from nymphomaniacs through bluestockings to homemakers.’
    • ‘As for her daughter, she was a bluestocking, one of only four of the class of 1958 debs who won a place at university.’
    • ‘The portrait of ‘patriarchal oppression’ presented by the investigative journalist is nonsense, incidentally, and he - who has the perspective and temperament of a Victorian bluestocking - was laughed off the island.’
    • ‘Are book editors letting the good ones get away and, in the process, limiting their audience to literary bluestockings?’
    • ‘Even the liberal wing of the aristocracy took its tone from the salons of bluestockings.’
    • ‘This room was used for entertaining on an intimate scale, for instance for her meetings with her bluestocking friend, but also served as a public room when opened up with the rest of the apartment.’
    • ‘The roll-call of celebrated women expanded from the traditional saints, queens, Biblical heroines and aristocratic savantes to include middle-class bluestockings, actresses and other non-elite prodigies.’
    • ‘Though, with her reputation as a bluestocking, the family puts its hopes in the younger now.’
    • ‘At 20, Gertrude was ‘a snob, a bluestocking, a woman with attitude’, according to her biographer.’
    • ‘She is just trying to survive her first season in the haut ton of Regency England and retain the tomboy, bluestocking identity her brothers had fostered in her though out her childhood.’
    • ‘She was a bluestocking, to whom German, mathematics, church history, and medicine were pure pleasure.’
    • ‘A Canadian bluestocking saw things a little differently.’
    • ‘She has suffered a little herself from being viewed by some as the archetypal bluestocking.’
    • ‘Why, from what I know of her and what I have heard of Lady Josephine, she is quite a bluestocking!’
    • ‘Some of these professors, self-proclaimed bluestockings, did disdain marriage.’
    • ‘Among the several virtues she lacks - being a Calvinist bluestocking is plainly responsible - are objectivity, impersonality, and a sense of the comic finiteness of human beings.’
    • ‘The American debate contrasts favourably with the cavalier way such issues in Britain have been relegated to a quango and the whim of an elderly bluestocking baroness.’
    intelligent person, learned person, highbrow, academic, bookworm, bookish person, man of letters, woman of letters, thinker, brain, scholar, sage
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Late 17th century: originally used to describe a man wearing blue worsted (instead of formal black silk) stockings; extended to mean ‘in informal dress’. Later the term denoted a person who attended the literary assemblies held ( c 1750) by three London society ladies, where some of the men favoured less formal dress. The women who attended became known as blue-stocking ladies or blue-stockingers.