Idioms: Blue Blood
What is the origin of the idiom “Blue Blood?”
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- The blood of hemophiliacs has a slightly blue tinge, and was used to refer to the vast numbers of Queen Victoria’s descendants with the disease.
- Noble families of Castile claimed that their blood was undliluted with other races, as evidenced by its blue color in their veins, easily seen through their pale skin.
- The Greek physician Hippocrates proposed that a person’s personality depended on the balance of body humors, one of which was blood. Blue blood identified those with thoughtful intelligence.
- Debrett’s Peerage is a compilation of all the titleholders in England, and was often consulted to determine the “bloodstock” of a woman; i.e. whether a man was marrying above or below his station. The covers of the book is a distinctive bright blue, and thus families in the book are referred to as “blue bloods.”