Main definitions of blue in English

: blue1blue2

blue1

adjective

  • 1Of a color intermediate between green and violet, as of the sky or sea on a sunny day.

    ‘the clear blue sky’
    ‘a blue silk shirt’
    ‘deep blue eyes’
    • ‘With blue skies and temperatures in the 80s, southeast Alaska doesn't feel like a rainforest.’
    • ‘The water was quite calm and the sky was blue.’
    • ‘Out across the water, Iona lay basking under an astonishingly blue Hebridean sky.’
    • ‘The snow-capped mountains, rolling hills and deep blue sky paint a picture no artist could draw.’
    • ‘We both love the color red and how it looks with the sage green and pale blue trim on our house.’
    • ‘Beneath the cloudy sky, the green and blue shade cast by the giant trees fell in a mottled pattern on the forest floor.’
    • ‘I put on my best pair of jeans and my favorite blue top.’
    • ‘The canal was an endless wall of sun-faded and sea-beaten red, green, and blue boats.’
    • ‘Each of these pixels has a red, green, or blue filter placed over it, and a light is shone from behind the screen.’
    • ‘At the age of seventy, his blue eyes still twinkle under a mop of corkscrew curls.’
    • ‘It was a typical tranquil morning, bright sunshine, blue sea, green trees softening the light.’
    • ‘Hot springs oozing from an underground volcano adds tints of yellow and green to the blue ocean.’
    • ‘Water of different depth shows different colours in the sunshine such as yellow, green, blue and transparent.’
    • ‘Take your grey bin, green bin, blue bag and green box and place them on the footpath outside your property, and leave them there, seven days a week.’
    • ‘If I only have to choose between green or blue scrubs then my brain has much less information to process and mess up.’
    • ‘Some of the crystals, especially those occurring with tourmaline, show a blue core and green rim.’
    • ‘The sun was up, the sky was blue, there wasn't a cloud to spoil the view.’
    • ‘The painting shows a Victorian scene in green, pink and blue colours on a cream background.’
    • ‘She was wearing her blue school uniform.’
    • ‘The chameleon is sometimes green, sometimes blue, it is all colours by turn, and sometimes it is absolutely colourless.’
    sky-blue, azure, cobalt, cobalt blue, sapphire, cerulean, navy, navy blue, saxe, saxe blue, oxford blue, cambridge blue, ultramarine, lapis lazuli, indigo, aquamarine, turquoise, teal, teal blue, cyan, of the colour of the sky, of the colour of the sea
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 (of a person's skin) having turned blue as a result of cold or breathing difficulties.
      ‘Annie went blue, and I panicked’
      • ‘Victims suffered from acute cyanosis, a blue discoloration of the skin and mucous membranes.’
      • ‘There may also be obvious cyanosis (when the lips and/or skin appears blue due to lack of oxygen in the blood).’
      • ‘She turned blue whenever she cried, and the doctor said it would be a miracle if she lived past her first month.’
      • ‘He used to go blue during the feed so I would sit him up and blow in his face and he would gasp for breath and continue his feed.’
      • ‘One day, she turned blue and stopped breathing.’
    2. 1.2 (of a bird or other animal) having blue markings.
      ‘a blue jay’
      • ‘Animals include duikers, eland and colobus, vervet and blue monkeys.’
      • ‘In particular searches have been made for the kiwi, blue duck, yellow head and the South Island kokako.’
      • ‘Among the thriving wildlife, native birds such as superb blue wren compete for a mate.’
      • ‘A gaggle of Catholic nuns from Kerala, in full habits, delicately dipped their feet like pale blue wading birds.’
      • ‘There's a pond visited by ducks, geese, blue herons, otters, deer and the odd bear.’
      • ‘I should have told you in previous episodes that anger is characterised by a red bear, sloth by a light blue goat, and avarice by a yellow frog.’
      • ‘Morpho menelaus is a kind of bright blue butterfly, but also has a slight purple colour.’
      • ‘Start early and you may surprise little green or great blue herons prowling the shallows.’
      • ‘According to zoology, the origin of blue bull is not traced to the species of cow.’
      • ‘Perhaps the boys will even be somewhere in the stands at Loftus - a small band of red dragons in a sea of blue bulls.’
      • ‘A blue eagle kept circling over them, so Conor and Beolagh hid in the Prince's coat pockets.’
      • ‘Out of the sky, a huge, blue eagle flew out from the sky, small black marks over him, his golden eyes burning.’
      • ‘Clouds of metallic blue butterflies dispersed off their gold and waxen perches and rippled over his head.’
      • ‘The powdery blue kingfisher has a more varied diet than the name suggests.’
      • ‘Plumage on a mature blue goose is a deep slate tone except for a white head and, in some, a buff-colored belly.’
      • ‘He bent down and pinned the little, blue hummingbird onto Rupert's winter jacket and leaned back with satisfaction.’
      • ‘Every spring, about 100 pairs nest here along with great blue herons and snowy egrets.’
      • ‘He had one arm hanging by his side and the other had a small blue beetle crawling over it.’
      • ‘A blue worm threading its way through sploshes of paint leaves me cold.’
      • ‘The rest of its body looked as if it were a giant blue lizard, standing on its hind legs like an angered bear.’
    3. 1.3 (of cats, foxes, or rabbits) having fur of a smoky gray color.
      ‘the blue fox’
      • ‘The Korat is an elegant silver-tipped blue cat which has a unique colour that appears to absorb light, resulting in an intense sheen often described as a halo effect and best appreciated in the sunlight.’
      • ‘On the way we saw a blue fox cross the road.’
      • ‘He was a blue cat named Paul, a sweet little fellow with a pleasant disposition.’
      • ‘He grabs the shredded pieces of his drawing: the blue fox howling at the moon.’
      • ‘She admires the drawing above the oven: a drawing of the blue fox howling at the moon.’
    4. 1.4 (of a ski run) of the second lowest level of difficulty, as indicated by colored markers positioned along it.
      • ‘‘It will be great fun and the good thing is that anybody can join in, as long as they can ski the blue runs,’ said Nina.’
      • ‘And to return to the southern lodge, forget it, you are forced with either a black trail or a long and very challenging blue trail.’
      • ‘Last year the trail was rated blue (moderate) and the rating for this next year is not decided yet.’
      • ‘The rest of the trail is rated blue/intermidiate but I think that it's only due to some recent storm damage from earlier this year.’
      • ‘There are just a few chair lifts that end where the blue trail crosses the cliff.’
    5. 1.5Physics Denoting one of three colors of quark.
      • ‘A blue quark will bind with a red quark and a yellow.’
      • ‘So for instance, we could start off with a red quark, which emits a red-antiblue gluon and becomes a blue quark.’
      • ‘So there must be a red quark, a blue quark and a green quark.’
      • ‘For example, if absorption of a gluon changes a blue quark into a red quark, then the gluon itself must have carried one unit of red charge and minus one unit of blue charge.’
      • ‘This blue quark will become red and the original red quark will become blue.’
  • 2informal (of a person or mood) melancholy, sad, or depressed.

    ‘he's feeling blue’
    • ‘When I'm blue I find nothing more therapeutic than cleaning up around the house a little.’
    • ‘Deep in their own blue mood, they're unaffected by people or events that are going on around them.’
    • ‘The majority of the record is mid-tempo and the dreamy guitars and harmonies throughout manage to create a blue mood.’
    • ‘The air then turned blue as Smith gave vent to his feelings both on the way back to the dressing room and, even more volubly, in the dressing room.’
    • ‘However, a third consecutive league defeat after conceding a goal from a set-piece left the Baggies players feeling blue.’
    • ‘Maybe the rain brings more blue mood for me and a three year anniversary reminds me to look back to see what happened in the days before.’
    • ‘He joked around with Dallas, played games with him and cheered him up when he felt blue.’
    • ‘The blue mood of yesterday seems to have lifted a little.’
    depressed, down, sad, saddened, unhappy, melancholy, miserable, sorrowful, gloomy, dejected, downhearted, disheartened, despondent, dispirited, low, in low spirits, low-spirited, heavy-hearted, glum, morose, dismal, downcast, cast down, tearful
    View synonyms
  • 3informal (of a movie, joke, or story) with sexual or pornographic content.

    ‘the blue movies are hugely profitable’
    • ‘Would you be content with watching a blue movie instead of doing the real thing?’
    • ‘‘My father never swore in his life or told a blue joke, but he was magic.’’
    • ‘Video cassettes showing blue films and cinema houses lost out to the village gurdwara.’
    • ‘However, airport sources claimed some employees were watching a blue film and accidentally sent it out on the airport's television sets.’
    • ‘We have the same sort of content as the women's classes but there is the odd slightly blue joke, too.’
    indecent, dirty, rude, coarse, vulgar, bawdy, lewd, racy, risqué, salacious, naughty, wicked, improper, unseemly, smutty, spicy, raw, off colour, ribald, rabelaisian
    View synonyms
    1. 3.1 (of language) marked by cursing, swearing, and blasphemy.
      • ‘Well, that day in the woods as I cursed a blue streak, he stood by, smiling and laughing at me.’
      • ‘When things go against the Jazz, his face gets red and his language gets blue.’
      • ‘Erik cursed a blue streak in French under his breath before picking up his suitcase and heading for the door.’
      • ‘You swear blue murder about the judge and the criminal justice system in general and put extra bolts and bars on your doors and windows.’
      • ‘Ander began swearing a blue streak just as Jerik's voice came over the transmitter.’
      • ‘The cameras spend the rest of the inning cutting to shots of him in the dugout, cursing a blue streak at himself.’
      • ‘Matt slammed the phone down, swearing a blue streak and hitting his head against the counter.’
      • ‘Kate's head went right up against the hood, then she staggered out cursing a blue streak.’
      • ‘Swearing a blue streak, she squirmed, trying to get free, but his grip was like iron.’
      • ‘When he managed to get to his feet the enforcer was on the ground nearby, both heads cursing a blue streak.’
      • ‘I can recall Uncle Dave's admonition to an enthusiastic fan in front of us when the language began to turn blue.’
  • 4informal, dated Rigidly religious or moralistic; puritanical.

    • ‘With the dissolution of the Puritan theocracies after the American Revolution, blue laws declined; many of them lay forgotten in state statute books only to be revived much later.’
    • ‘Keep in mind most states have blue laws that are typically unenforced unless they want to pile it on to someone who is otherwise being bad.’
    • ‘For those of you that don’t know, “blue laws” they were set up to prohibit, under penalty of law, items from being purchased on Sundays.’

noun

  • 1Blue color or pigment.

    ‘she was dressed in blue’
    ‘the dark blue of his eyes’
    ‘armchairs in pastel blues and greens’
    • ‘It is even available in bright colours like blue, green, yellow and orange.’
    • ‘My room is colored in blue with glow in the dark stars and planets on them.’
    • ‘Using strong colours like dark blue, deep reds and yellows, her work is certainly striking.’
    • ‘Designers took the traditional Masonic colours - green and gold - and wove in blue and black.’
    • ‘Inside are piles of battered registers, marked with the date in blue.’
    • ‘The words in blue are ‘hyperlinks’ and clicking on them will take you to an area with more information.’
    • ‘As one would stare upwards, the sky would change from red, to orange, to green, to dark blue, to royal purple.’
    • ‘Just remember, if you see text in blue in this article, that means we clipped it from the editorial section.’
    • ‘There was a photograph on the wall of a model with tresses boldly streaked in blue - I was concerned.’
    • ‘If it is in red ink, the letter is false; if in blue, it is true.’
    • ‘I was hoping she'd turn up to work the next day in blue and green, but she didn't.’
    • ‘This being the set I reviewed, they also come in blue, yellow, green sliver and black.’
    • ‘It's cluttered and the colours (dark blue and purple) will not be to many people's tastes.’
    • ‘The water-resistant fabric is available in blue, green or natural.’
    • ‘The vehicle involved, which had also been damaged, had been a light green or blue in colour, although the make or model was not known.’
    • ‘She had the children in mind in choosing colours, wares, right down to bathroom sets in blue for boys and pink for girls.’
    • ‘Familiar in its colourless form, it also occurs in a wide range of strong colours including blue, green, pink, and yellow.’
    • ‘One in brilliant yellow, another scarlet red and the two remaining were adorned in blue and glass green.’
    • ‘All samples are shown at the same magnification, with spindles in green and DNA in blue.’
    • ‘The Thursday evening changes are marked in red; the Friday changes in blue.’
    1. 1.1 Blue clothes or material.
      ‘Susan wore blue’
      • ‘She wore a gown of startling blue, hinting that her name should have been Sapphire.’
      • ‘The twins at this point was her age and the girl had dyed her hair a light orange color and wore colored contacts of blue.’
      • ‘Mother was wearing a heavily embroidered gown of light blue that suited her perfectly for once.’
      • ‘The men wore a similar hairstyle, all ages and genders wearing shades of blue.’
      • ‘The old man was robed in deep blue with a cloak of the same purple the guards wore.’
      • ‘Di Canio, who will be out of contract with West Ham in June, wants to finish his playing days wearing the claret and blue.’
      • ‘You wear red and the sovereign wears blue, but there are so many other colors in the world.’
      • ‘The boys in blue responded in the best manner on the scoreboard.’
      • ‘I haven't seen as poor a performance from the men in blue.’
      • ‘Had Chelsea decided to follow McNeill's nose, Ronaldo might now be wearing blue not red.’
      • ‘You open the door and there they are, the boys and girls in blue.’
      • ‘Those who wore gray were for it, and those who wore blue were against it.’
      • ‘He will be at Leederville Oval on Monday but he won't be wearing red and blue.’
      • ‘The police wear blue because that is the color of the police only and no one else.’
      • ‘Suddenly the door slid open, and a tall man wearing nothing but blue came into the room.’
      • ‘Andrew, wearing all blue, created by metallic clothing, walks into a small office.’
      • ‘The principal was a tall woman that usually always wore red but today she was wearing blue.’
      • ‘He always picks out white shirts until he doesn't have any left, and then he wears blue.’
      • ‘Caroline finished her toilette by herself, wearing a simple morning frock of blue.’
      • ‘Unlike the shades of blue which she wore currently, the shirts were a light grey, the pants, black.’
    2. 1.2usually Blue The Union army in the Civil War, or a member of that army.
    3. 1.3
      another term for bluing
      • ‘In 1765, Whatman discovered a means of whitening paper by adding laundry blue to the typically yellowed paper pulp.’
      • ‘This laundry starch company began producing laundry blue in 1852 by using a combination of a synthetic ultramarine and sodium bicarbonate.’
      • ‘Industry had already understood before the First World War how to make time-consuming bleaching a thing of the past by inventing laundry blue, a powder based on indigo.’
      • ‘From memory, I think her preferred method was to paint the designs on using laundry blue - guaranteed to wash out!’
      • ‘At the same time he discovered laundry blue.’
    4. 1.4 A blue ball, piece, etc., in a game or sport.
      • ‘Lucian chooses the red piece, I choose blue, and we spend a good two hours sitting on the floor.’
      • ‘Speak took the yellow and green and doubled the brown to keep his chances alive, but missed the blue.’
      • ‘Use blue if you have games for five year olds and brown if your visitors are color-blind.’
      • ‘A line divides the floor in the middle, I play red, you play blue.’
      • ‘You play blue, choose to either create a new blue chip (in the yellow squares) or jump two spaces away (the orange squares) by clicking on your chip.’
    5. 1.5the blueliterary The sky or sea, or the unknown.
      ‘a lark went trilling up, up into the blue’
      • ‘Sitting on the cold soft sand on the deserted beach I stared out into the blue.’
      • ‘On the opposite side of the reef we are looking into the blue for big critters when I look round to see a small turtle swim towards us.’
      • ‘Check your charts, your boat and supplies, then head out into the blue.’
      • ‘A single tiny cloud appeared above the ridge but soon dissolved into the blue.’
      • ‘Then his view through the window was suddenly rushing forward, directly into the blue.’
  • 2usually with modifier A small butterfly, the male of which is predominantly blue while the female is typically brown.

    • ‘As caterpillars, the blues are carefully cleaned and fed.’
    • ‘The male blues show much more interest in these yellow bushes.’
    • ‘A cool day in midsummer is always a good day to watch blues taking shelter in the grass.’
    • ‘It was easy to get the species mixed up as the female blues that had orange spots on the upper hindwing (see the photograph on the right) were Chalkhill Blues.’
    • ‘But blues fascinate butterfly experts with their mind-boggling complexity.’

verb

  • 1Make or become blue.

    with object ‘the light dims, bluing the retina’
    ‘blued paper’
    no object ‘the day would haze, the air bluing with afternoon’
    • ‘The sky was now bluing up as the time approached 4 PM.’
    • ‘The atmosphere in this video is darkened yet strangely luminous, the video palette seemingly blued and grayed.’
    • ‘All there were were tiny wisps of clouds now and the whole area had blued out.’
    • ‘I was up all night listening to music when a light blued the east, announcing the season of breakfast.’
    1. 1.1with object Heat (metal) so as to give it a grayish-blue finish.
      ‘nickel-plated or blued hooks’
      • ‘Sight choices are the same as offered on the 1895, the dovetails for rear sight and magazine tube are filled, and the entire gun is then matte blued or matte hard chromed.’
      • ‘However, over the last two decades bluing and case coloring, as well as nickel plating, have improved significantly, resulting in a most attractive revolver.’
      • ‘Yes, all the metal is well polished and deeply blued.’
      • ‘The entire pistol was then fine bead blasted and blued.’
      • ‘Having owned several and examined many others I see no difference in terms of overall fit and finish, metal polishing and bluing, or action smoothness.’
      • ‘The barrels' subtle blue-grey colors result from charcoal bluing.’
      • ‘All in all, it is an attractive rifle, with nicely blued metal contrasting with an attractive piece of walnut.’
      • ‘The bottom metal appears to be an investment casting, but it has good lines, is functional and nicely polished and blued like the rest of the metalwork on the gun.’
      • ‘The barrels are nicely blued, and some small parts, like the lock bolts, were brilliantly heal blued for contrast.’
      • ‘Eventually this sixgun will be totally refinished, in this case restored to its original appearance with case-hardened frame and hammer and the balance of the gun deeply blued.’
      • ‘When welding the tool steel which firearms are made, the metal has to be protected from excessive heat, or hard spots will develop showing up as the dreaded plum-color when blued.’
      • ‘The slide and its components are nicely polished and blued.’
      • ‘In actuality, those original pistols - while beautifully machined and blued - were basically military pistols, with gritty trigger pulls and average accuracy.’
      • ‘In the past, a turkey hunter used his regular shotgun, which might have a blued or even a nickel-finished barrel and a glossy stock.’
      • ‘As a final touch to the metalwork, all exterior surfaces were detailed and polished by hand, preparatory to burnishing and bluing.’
      • ‘The steel of the action and barrel is beautifully machined, polished and blued.’
      • ‘The gun was bead blasted around the top of the slide and bottom of the frame and the flats were given a nice, even polish before bluing.’
      • ‘Weatherby barrels and actions were polished and blued to a glittering, mirror-bright finish.’
      • ‘Yes, it is a 16 penny nail that has been polished up a bit and blued.’
      • ‘The hammer, trigger, and trigger guard are also blued to a mirror-like finish, and the sides of the frame sport a somewhat subdued finish, contrasting nicely with the rest of the gun.’
  • 2historical with object Wash (white clothes) with bluing.

    • ‘I blued the laundry.’
    • ‘I rinsed and blued most of them.’
    • ‘A couple of wooden benches at the side of the house in the shade held 3 big galvanized iron tubs for washing, rinsing and bluing the clothes, and a tin dish for the starch.’
    • ‘She would blue the laundry / For the children.’
    • ‘Washing was a long involved process which started with making the soap using lye, lard and ashes, then scrubbing, boiling, rinsing and bluing the clothes in huge outdoor vats of water.’

Phrases

  • boys in blue

    • informal Police officers.

      • ‘But this has not stopped police chief and mayor alike from advocating lots of cameras for their boys in blue to fiddle with in the safety of remote locations.’
      • ‘Villagers are ready to step in to the boots of the boys in blue at a Bradford police station which was closed to the public for 30 years.’
      • ‘The feckless teenagers of Fraserburgh are to be rewarded by the boys in blue for their good grace in actually obeying the law of the land?’
      • ‘Hopefully the boys in blue and the plainclothes detectives will get things more under control.’
      • ‘But four days after it was targeted by a till-snatcher, he is still waiting for the boys in blue to turn up.’
      • ‘And in some circumstances, some people might argue that it might be a tad reckless to argue the toss with the boys in blue when they ask you for ID.’
      • ‘They urge everyone to report incidents of drug offences or anti-social behaviour on the estate to the boys in blue.’
      • ‘Community policing by local officers got a boost this week when a rural Eden fire station opened its doors to the boys in blue.’
      • ‘Catching criminals is the job of the boys in blue.’
      • ‘Having experienced what life is like with the boys in blue, Councillor Ali will next be on ‘duty’ on 15 August when he joins a watch at Rochdale Fire Station.’
  • do something until (or till) one is blue in the face

    • informal Put all one's efforts into doing something to no avail.

      ‘she could talk to him until she was blue in the face, but he was just not hearing’
      • ‘I complained and complained and complained until I was blue in the face.’
      • ‘I just sulked all the way home cussing and swearing till I was blue in the face.’
      • ‘I searched every file I could till I was blue in the face, and got absolutely nowhere!’
      • ‘Obviously, we could sit here and talk until we're blue in the face about how wonderfully they play the game.’
      • ‘I could tell him till I was blue in the face that we had to leave, he does not understand, he is not from here.’
  • out of the blue

    • informal Without warning; unexpectedly.

      ‘she phoned me out of the blue’
      • ‘Quite frankly, this piece of research is so unexpected, so out of the blue, it beggars belief.’
      • ‘Rarely does a profit warning come out of the blue like the subsequent share price reaction suggests.’
      • ‘The government's interest in sexual health has not come out of the blue.’
      • ‘Stephen phoned out of the blue, haven't spoken to him in over three months!’
      • ‘Than he calls me up kind of out of the blue and it's just this weird, random kind of thing.’
      • ‘Now, out of the blue, my own bank, write to me to tell me that they may have inadvertently ripped me off.’
      • ‘Philip's voice is completely casual, like he's just had this sudden thought out of the blue.’
      • ‘Then, last month, I got a phone call out of the blue from one of the photo managers at Head Office.’
      • ‘This came out of the blue, and we are most upset that a warning wasn't given.’
      • ‘This hasn't been done out of the blue and they have been given every chance to stop doing it.’
      • ‘The yellow card came out of the blue and I do not believe there was any warning from the referee.’
      • ‘As for how the opportunity was spotted, it was a complete bolt out of the blue.’
      • ‘His was a performance out of the blue but one that he certainly can repeat again as he grows in confidence.’
      • ‘It's a bit worrying because this guy actually knows where I live and has dropped round out of the blue but not for a long time.’
      • ‘He called me yesterday, out of the blue, basically to offer me some work.’
      • ‘Because all of a sudden, almost out of the blue, the summer had ended and college was the immediate future.’
      • ‘This particular warning came out of the blue and there must be a worry that there is yet more to come.’
      • ‘After six weeks the trail seemed to be going cold when a phone call came out of the blue.’
      • ‘It always comes slamming down out of a clear blue sky, unplanned and unforeseen.’
      • ‘He was working as a meat products salesman during the 1960s, when his chance to run the pub came out of the blue.’
  • talk a blue streak

    • informal Speak continuously and at great length.

      • ‘Thus he asks Rick-the-coward, who talks a blue streak about the dancing contest, the confrontation with the jocks, the pictures, and the confrontation with Hattie.’
      • ‘She hadn't slept for three days, and talked a blue streak.’
      • ‘Unfortunately I know very little about them because I talked a blue streak from the moment they stepped in the door to the moment the door closed behind them when they left.’
      • ‘Reading it is like trying to keep up with a fast walker who is also talking a blue streak.’
      • ‘The Chorus leader and, of course, Electra talk a blue streak.’

Origin

Middle English: from Old French bleu, ultimately of Germanic origin and related to Old English blǣwen ‘blue’ and Old Norse blár ‘dark blue’ (see also blaeberry).

Pronunciation

blue

/blo͞o//blu/

Main definitions of blue in English

: blue1blue2

blue2

verb

[WITH OBJECT]British
informal, dated
  • Squander or recklessly spend (money).

    • ‘It is again time to break open a bottle of bubbly and to blue our money till kingdom comes.’
    • ‘It doesn't matter which sum you will transfer (1 $, 10$or 100$) because you don't blue your money, you save human life!’

Origin

Mid 19th century: perhaps a variant of blow.

Pronunciation

blue

/blo͞o//blu/