Results 1 to 10 of 10
  1. #1
    stares-at-stars is offline Newbie
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • German
      • Home Country:
      • Germany
      • Current Location:
      • Germany
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    14
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default "blue" meaning "indecent"

    Does somebody know since when "blue" is used with this meaning?
    Is this usage typically British or American?

  2. #2
    Calis's Avatar
    Calis is offline Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Interested in Language
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • UK
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    159
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: "blue" meaning "indecent"

    Pardon my French, but quoi? Blue meaning indecent?! Where in the world did you get that from?

  3. #3
    konungursvia's Avatar
    konungursvia is offline Key Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Academic
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Canada
      • Current Location:
      • Canada
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    4,804
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: "blue" meaning "indecent"

    Maybe from Blue Velvet, or blue movies. It doesn't mean indecent, it means sexually hot. To me, that's not indecent, it's just AA14+.

  4. #4
    Barb_D's Avatar
    Barb_D is offline Moderator
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    17,346
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: "blue" meaning "indecent"

    If you say that a comedian is blue or uses blue humor, it means he will use a lot of profanity and perhaps sexual inuendo. Ricky Gervaise is one example - so, so funny, but so, so foul.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  5. #5
    thincat is offline Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • Hong Kong
      • Current Location:
      • Hong Kong
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    114
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: "blue" meaning "indecent"

    Quote Originally Posted by stares-at-stars View Post
    Does somebody know since when "blue" is used with this meaning?
    Is this usage typically British or American?
    According to the OED, the indecent connotation of "blue" seems to be able to trace back to 1864.

    Indecent, obscene. Cf. blue n. 14 and blueness n. 4.


    1864 J. C. Hotten Slang Dict. (new ed.) 78 Blue, said of talk that is smutty or indecent.
    1935 Economist 16 Mar. 584/2 The songs sounded not vulgar exactly, but‥‘a bit on the blue side’.
    1959 Spectator 14 Aug. 180/1 It meant that the theatre-going public were deprived of‥outstanding contemporary plays, yet allowed to visit ‘blue’ variety shows.
    1965 Punch 2 June 799/1 He also wanted to see a blue movie.

  6. #6
    Tullia's Avatar
    Tullia is offline Senior Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • England
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Posts
    628
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: "blue" meaning "indecent"

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    If you say that a comedian is blue or uses blue humor, it means he will use a lot of profanity and perhaps sexual inuendo. Ricky Gervaise is one example - so, so funny, but so, so foul.
    I'd use the phrase "blue language" to talk about RG's profanity as well so it sounds like it's both an AmE and a BrE concept.

    There's also the lovely phrase "turned the air blue" which you would see in sentences like:

    "He was effing and jeffing so much the air turned blue!"
    or
    "He turned the air blue with his constant profanity."

  7. #7
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • UK
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    23,513
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: "blue" meaning "indecent"

    It's interesting to see that Barb considers Ricky Gervais to use a lot of profanity etc. I know he got lambasted for his language when he presented some award ceremony or other, but here in the UK, I wouldn't consider him rude at all. Most of his TV shows have been pretty restrained profanity-wise. His live stand-up routine could be very different, I've never seen him on stage.

  8. #8
    Barb_D's Avatar
    Barb_D is offline Moderator
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    17,346
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: "blue" meaning "indecent"

    I've seen his stand-up on cable TV specials. Oh my... I had tears streaming down my face from laughing half the time, but I was glad there were no children in the room.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  9. #9
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • UK
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    23,513
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: "blue" meaning "indecent"

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    I've seen his stand-up on cable TV specials. Oh my... I had tears streaming down my face from laughing half the time, but I was glad there were no children in the room.
    Fair enough! I should really track down some live stuff because I love his TV shows.

    I think Roy "Chubby" Brown and Jim Davidson would be the two "bluest" comedians I have ever heard. Billy Connolly in the 70s and 80s used "f*ck" as if it were going out of fashion but something about his accent and the endearing way in which he incorporated it into his stories meant it was commonly overlooked.

  10. #10
    Barb_D's Avatar
    Barb_D is offline Moderator
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    17,346
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: "blue" meaning "indecent"

    I think The Invention of Lying is one of the more intriguing movies I've seen in a while. Oddly touching at some points.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 5
    Last Post: 04-Jan-2012, 02:13
  2. Meaning of "angelic","reckon","bow"
    By Adam Cruge in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 22-Jul-2010, 11:04
  3. Replies: 2
    Last Post: 08-Sep-2008, 08:27
  4. "Cover Load" and "blue seal"
    By Bushwhacker in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 15-Mar-2008, 18:52
  5. confusing words "expressed" or "express" and "named" or"names"
    By Dawood Usmani in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 26-Oct-2007, 19:33

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •