Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary
1520s, from bloody (adj.). Related: Bloodied; bloodying. Old English had blodigan "to make bloody," but the modern word seems to be a later formation.
Old Engish blodig, adjective from blod (see blood). Common Germanic, compare Old Frisian blodich, Old Saxon blôdag, Dutch bloedig, Old High German bluotag, German blutig.\n
\nIt has been a British intensive swear word since at least 1676. Weekley relates it to the purely intensive use of the cognate Dutch bloed, German Blut. But perhaps it ultimately is connected with bloods in the slang sense of "rowdy young aristocrats" (see blood (n.)) via expressions such as bloody drunk "as drunk as a blood."\n
\nPartridge reports that it was "respectable" before c.1750, and it was used by Fielding and Swift, but heavily tabooed c.1750-c.1920, perhaps from imagined association with menstruation; Johnson calls it "very vulgar," and OED writes of it, "now constantly in the mouths of the lowest classes, but by respectable people considered 'a horrid word', on par with obscene or profane language."\n\nThe onset of the taboo against bloody coincides with the increase in linguistic prudery that presaged the Victorian Era but it is hard to say what the precise cause was in the case of this specific word. Attempts have been made to explain the term's extraordinary shock power by invoking etymology. Theories that derive it from such oaths as "By our Lady" or "God's blood" seem farfetched, however. More likely, the taboo stemmed from the fear that many people have of blood and, in the minds of some, from an association with menstrual bleeding. Whatever, the term was debarred from polite society during the whole of the nineteenth century.
[Rawson]\nShaw shocked theatergoers when he put it in the mouth of Eliza Doolittle in "Pygmalion" (1914), and for a time the word was known euphemistically as "the Shavian adjective." It was avoided in print as late as 1936. Bloody Sunday, Jan. 30, 1972, when 13 civilians were killed by British troops at protest in Londonderry, Northern Ireland.
Bloody is a commonly used expletive attributive ( intensifier) in British English. It was used as an intensive since at least the 1670s. Considered "respectable" until about 1750, it was heavily tabooed during c. 1750–1920, considered equivalent to heavily obscene or profane speech. Public use continued to be seen as controversial until the 1960s, but since the later 20th century, the word has become a comparatively mild expletive or intensifier.
The word is also used in the same way in Australian English, New Zealand English and in other parts of the Commonwealth or in ex-Commonwealth countries. In American English, the word is uncommon and is seen by American audiences as a stereotypical marker of British English, without any significant obscene or profane connotation.
adj. having or covered with or accompanied by blood; "a bloody nose"; "your scarf is all bloody"; "the effects will be violent and probably bloody"; "a bloody fight" [ant: bloodless]
(used of persons) informal intensifiers; "what a bally (or blinking) nuisance"; "a bloody fool"; "a crashing bore"; "you flaming idiot" [syn: bally(a), blinking(a), bloody(a), blooming(a), crashing(a), flaming(a), fucking(a)]
The Collaborative International Dictionary
Bloody \Blood"y\, a. [AS. bl[=o]dig.]
Containing or resembling blood; of the nature of blood; as, bloody excretions; bloody sweat.
Smeared or stained with blood; as, bloody hands; a bloody handkerchief.
Given, or tending, to the shedding of blood; having a cruel, savage disposition; murderous; cruel.
Some bloody passion shakes your very frame.
Attended with, or involving, bloodshed; sanguinary; esp., marked by great slaughter or cruelty; as, a bloody battle.
Infamous; contemptible; -- variously used for mere emphasis or as a low epithet. [Vulgar]
Bloody \Blood"y\, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Bloodied; p. pr. & vb.
To stain with blood.
1 Covered in blood. 2 Characterised by bloodshed. 3 (context AU NZ UK colloquial mildly vulgar not comparable English) ''Used as an intensifier.'' adv. (context AU NZ British mildly vulgar English) Used to intensify what follows this adver
vb. 1 To draw blood from one's opponent in a fight. 2 To demonstrably harm the cause of an opponent. Etymology 2
n. (label en casual) bloody mary
Usage examples of "bloody".
Eastern troops, he recommended to their zeal the execution of his bloody design, which might be accomplished in his absence, with less danger, perhaps, and with less reproach.
Bloody but unbowed, Caine returns to Ankhar very few minutes from now, for a final desperate attempt to his wife from the horrors of amplitude decay.
The approaching contest with Magnentius was of a more serious and bloody kind.
Kirk of Scotland is linked more than ever with sectaries and antinomians and those, like the bloody and deceitful Cromwell, that would defile the milk of the Word with the sour whey of their human inventions.
A dwarf choreographer and an aging diva and a little boy with a wooden horse named Bloody Hell and a beautiful, bad-tempered, achingly tender ballerina who made love as though she were both dancing and fighting for her life.
Without the bloody, blasted beastie, they would certainly lose Talla Dileas.
As soon as her eyes had grown accustomed to the light, Lady Bellamy went up to the body, and, drawing off the sheet, gazed long and steadily at the mutilated face, on the lips of which the bloody froth still stood.
I had hoped to soon set sail for Normandy, there to spend some time in my own lands and get the taste of this benighted land from off my tongue, its squalorous stinks from out my nostrils, not to set sail across thousands of leagues of open ocean to fetch up, at last, in a place even more primitive and dark and bloody than this Ireland.
Here we have the rather banal world of New Age talk-show blather as the public face of a very real and bloody attempt to reshape the world.
He lowered his ear to her bloodied mouth but could detect no sound of breaming.
From a stainless-steel cabinet in the corner he brought over two sealed specimen jars containing a mass of mangled human offal half immersed in a bloodied liquid.
He reached out blindly and touched naked flesh, then jerked his head back as long red fingernails clawed bloodied lines down his face.
The left-hand side was bloodied pulp with part of the cheek and lower lip flapping down, showing teeth and bone.
He pointed to a bloodied indentation running parallel to the severed ends.
Frost pulled his eyes away from the bloodied stump of the neck and gingerly touched the flesh of her arm.