One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A side-blow not at the main target.
- ‘On the accursed spot where a house was burnt down, they never build a new one; if, in laying the ground-beam, a single spark is kindled by a by-blow, it foretells a new fire, and they look out another place to build on.’
2A man's illegitimate child.‘he was, he declared, a by-blow of the prince’
illegitimate child, child born out of wedlockView synonyms
- ‘Eric thinks he's just God's gift to humanity (not to mention all women), but all he is is a low-down, parasitical by-blow of a cockroach and a worm.’
- ‘There were no other brothers to help ease the burden but, fortunately, neither were there sisters to provide dowries for and, as far as Croft could tell, no by-blows of his brother's to maintain.’
- ‘The second hypothesis, which is more plausible, is that Helen is illegitimate - one of her debauched father's by-blows.’
- ‘The Vagabonds, in effect, buy off the by-blow of their hired man's romance, and the action of the novel consists of what the present generation makes of that earlier gift.’
- ‘Ana, incidentally, is the acknowledged but illegitimate daughter of a powerful Spanish lord who offered the convent a large sum for accepting his by-blow as a new recruit.’
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