Definition of bless in US English:

bless

verb

[with object]
  • 1Pronounce words in a religious rite, to confer or invoke divine favor upon; ask God to look favorably on.

    ‘he blessed the dying man and anointed him’
    • ‘The priest leads the service; he asks the couple if they wish to marry, blesses them, then declares them married.’
    • ‘Subsequently, family members blessed Mazal by satellite and received her blessings in return.’
    • ‘Later, this curse was reaffirmed when Isaac blessed Jacob, and once more when Balaam pronounced a prophetic blessing on Israel as a nation.’
    • ‘Against this barren background, James blesses those who endure temptation with the following famous words.’
    • ‘He touched lepers, forgave sinners, blessed the poor and consorted with tax collectors.’
    • ‘He blesses the newlyweds and tells the fairies to go through Athens and bless all the couples in love.’
    • ‘On that day, children of those ages are taken to a Shinto shrine to be blessed.’
    • ‘She led them into battle where they achieved martyrdom and were blessed by Guru Gobind Singh.’
    • ‘During one visit, according to Gurudeva, Lord Ganesha Himself appeared and blessed him at this temple.’
    • ‘On this occasion the Khanijou family took the opportunity to have a family reunion and perform religious ceremonies to bless their clients and friends and of course wish for another year of prosperity.’
    • ‘The Elvenking is impressed with this and he blesses the hobbit.’
    • ‘Marco and Olive met as youngsters through their parents' friendship and, when they came of age, were blessed in marriage.’
    • ‘When Noach regains his senses, he curses Cham and Cham's son Canaan for their disrespectful behavior, and he blesses Shem and Yefet for their kind deed.’
    • ‘Jesus reverses roles, as God did with Abraham, becomes their host, and blesses the two disciples by his presence in word and action.’
    • ‘He fought anti-Semitism, hated racism, blessed the mother of Amadou Diallo, an unarmed African shot dead by New York city police.’
    • ‘However, an ivory plaque of Christ blessing Otto II and Theophano shows how the match could dignify Saxon imperial pretensions.’
    • ‘Aside from a general call to bless someone, I tried to use magic to grant a few specific people safe passage in automobiles for the rest of their lives.’
    • ‘The priest wraps a robe around the bride and groom, symbolizing their union, and blesses them before concluding the ceremony.’
    ask god's favour for, ask god's protection for, give a benediction for, invoke happiness on
    endow, favour, provide, grace, bestow, furnish, entrust, present
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    1. 1.1 (especially in Christian church services) call (God) holy; praise (God).
      • ‘A Jew should respond ‘Amen’ whenever someone blesses God, as long as this person is not reciting an improper blessing.’
      • ‘Praise and bless my Lord, and give thanks, and serve him with great humility.’
      • ‘Our Sages teach that as one experiences the phenomena of the new day, he should bless God for providing them.’
      • ‘By blessing God and recalling all that he has done for us, we place technology in the purview of God's plan of salvation.’
      • ‘Even they can bless God for the natural delights of this life.’
      • ‘It seems that it is enough to bless the Goddess or the God, or to bring wine and cakes to the Sabbat, or to give up some of one's time.’
      • ‘The Talmud teaches us that in this world we must bless God for both good and evil, but the in Future World, we will realize that there is nothing but good.’
      • ‘No matter what looms ahead, if you can eat today, enjoy today, mix good cheer with friends today, enjoy it and bless God for it.’
      • ‘God doesn't exist to bless America; America exists to bless God.’
      • ‘With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude likeness of God.’
      • ‘And I bless God who crafts light and creates darkness, who will radiate a new light upon Zion, whose light pours off you to illuminate my room.’
      • ‘Each gift must be blessed by you, hence the gods are blessed by us.’
      • ‘The food is there, on the table; we rejoice in its being there and bless God that it is.’
      • ‘I bless the God who gave him to me as my father and guide.’
      • ‘He blesses the almighty and thanks him for bringing Reuven and his father to his son Danny, for he knows that they have incredible souls.’
      • ‘We give thanks and bless God for the ever-surprising grace that blesses us with gifts.’
      • ‘I heard that and I kept saying to myself, when is America going to bless God?’
      • ‘My boyfriend totally accepts God's importance to me and would never prevent me from praying or going to church or doing anything else which blesses God.’
      • ‘For I am possessed of a cat, surpassing in beauty, from whom I take occasion to bless Almighty God.’
      • ‘They bore him and placed him in the third heaven in the company of angels blessing God for evermore.’
      praise, worship, glorify, honour, exalt, adore, pay tribute to, pay homage to, give thanks to, venerate, reverence, hallow
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    2. 1.2bless someone with (of God or some notional higher power) endow (someone) with a particular cherished thing or attribute.
      ‘God has blessed us with free will’
      • ‘And Ford finally blesses its Jaguar brand with its first-ever diesel, now a must-have for premium-brand vehicles in diesel-ravenous Europe.’
      • ‘As a lad I had a very high fitness level and it is obvious from looking at Stuart that he was blessed with the same attribute.’
      • ‘The Lord blessed Tommy with many special attributes, among them a unique stubbornness, a special form of loving, confident arrogance, a quaint sense of humor and an unconditional love for all.’
      • ‘But if you can take off the idea that there's a wrong way to do it, you might be blessed with all these incredible options.’
      • ‘After all, we are blessed with excellent natural attributes and could attract far more visitors to our fair city.’
      • ‘The American command appears to be blessing this effort with a temporary pause in combat operations.’
      • ‘His performance made me wonder whether, if Leonard Henry was blessed with Devon's vocal attributes and skill, he would have succeeded in convincing me he was a better actor/singer.’
      • ‘For one thing, since blessing myself with an iPod in April, I don't use a Walkman any more.’
      • ‘The moment I said that, a million and one things that could have happened rushed into my mind, blessing my brain with an instant overload.’
      • ‘So Saha's lively pace, an attribute that the inconsistent Diego Forlán and Van Nistelrooy are not blessed with, would provide another dimension if United want to play the ball over the top.’
      • ‘As a prince Dalen had been blessed with simple powers, powers Dalen used to do the Charmer's bidding.’
      • ‘It seems that Yuz Asaf blessed Afghanistan and Pakistan with his presence also.’
      • ‘There are four days to go, and still many shows to see; still time for the Fringe grapevine to pick up on that undiscovered gem, spread the word and bless a doughty independent company with Fringe success.’
      • ‘Jesus himself had blessed her with these powers to help Christina.’
      • ‘Unless you were blessed with the power of Hercules, it's quite obvious you can't turn the ring with your bare hands.’
      • ‘Edwards vainly attempted a few explanations before bowing to the reality that running for president, even if you are blessed with natural political gifts, is never child's play.’
      • ‘I didn't know then that you were blessed with such power.’
      • ‘The guy, looking around her age, lugged Tanya's suitcase down with minimal effort, and Tanya wondered why she wasn't blessed with powers like that.’
      • ‘The Screening God is one of the most important Gods as he is blessed with the power to see who is worthy of becoming a god, an angel, or thrown back down to earth.’
      • ‘I suspected that the local gods, having delivered a lackluster landscape, decided to make up for it by blessing the land with colorful rivers.’
      consecrate, sanctify, hallow, dedicate, dedicate to god, make holy, make sacred, set apart, devote to god
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    3. 1.3 Express or feel gratitude to; thank.
      ‘she silently blessed the premonition which had made her pack her best dress’
      • ‘Anyone who can help me with getting this machine will be blessed a thousand times and thanked profusely.’
      • ‘Some 42 years later, Ralph Wilson blesses the day he decided to ante in with Lamar Hunt, the sports-loving geology major from Southern Methodist University with the dark glasses and big dreams.’
      • ‘I arrived at the classroom in moments, blessing my running abilities.’
      • ‘Cook writes that among her files were found dozens of letters from the wives and families of the wounded or dead men, thanking and blessing her and addressing her as Darling Mother.’
      • ‘I laughed and finally managed to pull my gaze away, silently blessing him for breaking the tension.’
      • ‘When you're at the point of blessing your software for making it easy to purge comments, it's time to get rid of comments entirely.’
      • ‘And there were no doubt spring days when he remembered Minnesota winters, and blessed himself for heading home.’
      • ‘She blessed the holy stink of bleach for cleaning linen and her hands, stripping them of blood and urine, the slow leaks of bodies giving up the ghost and flesh together.’
      • ‘Remember: In blessing others, you bless yourself.’
      • ‘We Christians may expect to be blessed by people within every other religious family.’
      • ‘He was startled to behold their beauty, and at once felt a rush of love for these creatures, blessing them as the only other living things in his damnable world.’
      • ‘He aimed it at Robert and smiled to himself, blessing his good fortune.’
      • ‘We'll always thank and bless him for Doolittle and Surfer Rosa, but the new is pretty good.’
      • ‘He exited onto the bustling streets of the port city, and took a deep breath of the fresh, cool air, blessing his decision to go to Wanda with his troubles.’
      give thanks for, express gratitude for, be grateful for
      View synonyms
    4. 1.4bless oneself Make the Christian gesture of the sign of the cross.
      ‘the poor parson, blessing himself, brought up the rear’
      • ‘Wayne O'Donoghue blessed himself as the jury came out to return their verdict.’
      • ‘I saw people touch the cross, then bless themselves before making comments like, ‘If the cross could only talk’, as it had overseen so much history in Killarney during the 20th century.’
      • ‘As he pronounces the sacred words, he blesses himself and joins his hands.’
      • ‘Cullen often dwells on the innocence and clear-eyed religiousness of his youth - the holy water the family blessed themselves with before leaving home, attending Mass every morning.’
      • ‘‘May God rest his soul,’ James said with quite a lump in his throat, and remembering his friend's former profession, he blessed himself and said a prayer for the pilot.’
      • ‘Everytime she left the house she blessed herself with holy water, even if only going to the well.’
      • ‘I exit the church, blessing myself again before I go, and exit through the back way.’
      • ‘Six National Guardsmen walked up to it on Tuesday afternoon and two blessed themselves with the sign of the cross.’
      • ‘After a moment she lifts her right hand to her forehead and blesses herself, hard.’
      • ‘When he saw the crucifix on the front of the Catholic Church, he automatically removed his hat and blessed himself.’
      • ‘‘Jesus, Mary and Joseph,’ he mumbled, and knelt down and blessed himself.’
      • ‘McClair was never a favourite of the fans, in part because he never threw himself into tackles or pandered to the crowd by kissing the jersey or blessing himself, which was, sadly, in vogue back then.’
      • ‘Religious expressions, talk of harlots and people blessing themselves also feature widely in what is the kind of cutesy vision of Ireland that might be presented to a tourist.’
      • ‘When I was invited to dinner at their House dining hall last year, a young student couple blessed themselves and said grace before the meal at a table crowded with other students who were already eating and talking.’
      • ‘People are blessing themselves as they pass where the accident happened.’
      • ‘To begin with, when you first come into church, bless yourself with holy water.’
      • ‘Priss sighed with relief and blessed herself mockingly.’
      • ‘She blessed herself with holy water before walking out of the church, and who did she see standing on the sidewalk?’
      • ‘He opened his address by telling the old tale about a certain man in Ballyhaunis - in the not too distant past - who, on hearing the Angelus bell tolling from the Friary Hill, blessed himself.’
      • ‘It's fuelled by a Bart Simpson-meets-confession-box ethic that dictates if nobody saw you - and you blessed yourself while you were doing it - then it never really happened.’
    5. 1.5 Used in expressions of surprise, endearment, gratitude, etc.
      ‘bless my soul, Alan, what are you doing?’
      ‘Lenore, bless her heart, had done just that’
      • ‘After the customer paid, Zak said to him, ‘Thanks, and God bless you!’’
      • ‘Later, your mother told me that Wendell, one of the fishermen, bless his soul, had broken loose, and jumped in to save you.’
      • ‘After reading your article, ‘Robert Kerrey and the bloody legacy of Vietnam,’ I feel like shouting a hearty ‘God bless you!’’
      • ‘‘Thank you, Solace,’ said Whitiel, ‘May Domin bless you!’’
      • ‘I've grown tired of the Red Monkey Gang - bless their souls - and their slothful ways.’
      • ‘‘God bless you!’ he repeated fervently, seeing Adriana.’
      • ‘Mike - bless him - even pronounces my final near-translucent fillet ‘perfect!’’
      • ‘Dave, bless his warped soul, writes an ode to Neil Diamond that must be read to be believed.’
      • ‘Then he embraced each of them in turn, saying ‘Good-bye, old man; God bless you!’’
      • ‘Gigi, bless her soul, went behind my back and hooked up with some other dude.’
      • ‘Eve, bless her soul, was too childlike to see this.’
      • ‘ESPN, bless its Disney-controlled soul, replayed it about nineteen times a day.’
      • ‘Donnan, bless his soul, was still in the most happy, patient of moods, nodded.’
      • ‘Of course, there are always a few kids who have never heard of Crossfire, bless their innocent little souls.’
      • ‘‘Then God bless you!’ said Faith, with the pink ribbons, ‘and may you find all well when you come back.’’
      • ‘For those innocents among you who don't know what this is (bless you!), it's a jar placed in a prominent position in the office and every time you swear you have to place money into it.’
      • ‘My grandfather in Uganda - bless his soul - believes the munching of fish to be a jejune activity.’
      • ‘‘God bless you!’ she said, and she waved her flag as they pulled forward through the intersection.’
      • ‘I never dreamt my lifestyle would clash so greatly with the people I'm, bless my soul, trying to help out.’
      • ‘It's hard to squelch my butchness, but, bless my soul, I do try!’

Phrases

  • bless you!

    • Said to a person who has just sneezed.

      • ‘When someone tells me ‘God Bless you’ when I sneeze, I feel a little more cared for.’
      • ‘I was just wondering why people say ‘bless you’ when someone sneezes.’

Origin

Old English blēdsian, blētsian, based on blōd ‘blood’ (i.e. originally perhaps ‘mark or consecrate with blood’). The meaning was influenced by its being used to translate Latin benedicere ‘to praise, worship’, and later by association with bliss.

Pronunciation

bless

/blɛs//bles/