I would like to know what does this idiom mean. To feel blue. Thank you. MZ
Apparently, the adjective is much older than the songs blues singers sing:
(Online Etymology Dictionary)meaning "depression, low spirits" goes back to 1741, from adj. blue "low-spirited," c.1385.
And from the Dictionary of Americanisms, by John Russell Bartlett (1848)
(Dictionary of Americanisms, by John Russell Bartlett (1848))
...not to forget Wikipedia that gives this etymology:BLUE. Gloomy, severe; extreme, ultra.
In the former sense it is applied especially to the Presbyterians, to denote their severe and mortified appearance. Thus, beneath an old portrait of the seventeenth century, in the Woodburn Gallery, is the following inscription:
A true blue Priest, a Lincey Woolsey Brother,
One legg a pulpit, holds a tub the other;
An Orthodox grave, moderate Presbyterian,
Half surplice cloake, half Priest, half Puritan.
Made up of all these halfes, hee cannot pass
For anything entirely but an ass.
In the latter sense it is used particularly in politics.
The bluest description of old Van Rensselaer Federalists have followed Col. Prentiss (in Otsego county).--N. Y. Tribune.
I hope our Usonian friends will forgive my talking a blue streak, ahem...The phrase the blues is a reference to having a fit of the blue devils, meaning 'down' spirits, depression and sadness. An early reference to "the blues" can be found in George Colman's farce Blue devils, a farce in one act (1798).
Last edited by AlainK; 03-Feb-2007 at 23:01. Reason: Addition
Referring to that N.Y. Tribune piece, is it just in BE that 'true blue' often means '[politically] conservative'?
Not being a native speaker, I have no doubt that you understand nuances, or even just can feel without always being to explain them.
Thanks for your input.
Also have the blues:
to feel blue - to feel sad and depressed.
"I'm feeling blue because I haven't had any mail except bills for a long, long time."
"After seeing the old house in such bad shape, I had the blues for weeks"
The noun blues, meaning "low spirits," was first recorded in 1741 and may come from blue devil, a 17th-century term for a baleful demon, or from the adjective blue meaning "sad," a usage first recorded in Chaucer's Complaint of Mars (c. 1385). The idiom may have been reinforced by the notion that anxiety produces a livid skin color.
Colour psychology says that Blue can create feelings of sadness or aloofness. Colour Blue can also lower the pulse rate and body temperature.
The blues, (used with a plural verb) depressed spirits; despondency; melancholy; depression.
"This rainy spell is giving me the blues."
a Monday regarded as a depressing workday in contrast to the pleasant relaxation of the weekend.