Blue Flag to Boating Colours

Blue Flag (A) in the Roman empire was a warning of danger. Livy speaks of it in his Annals.

Blue-Gowns. King’s bedesmen, or privileged Scotch mendicants, were so called from their dress. On the king’s birthday each of these bedesmen had given to him a cloak of blue cloth, a penny for every year of the king’s life, |a loaf of bread, and a bottle of ale. No new member has been added since 1833.

Blue Hen, a nickname for the state of Delaware, United States. The term arose thus: Captain Caldwell, an officer of the 1st Delaware Regiment in the American War for Independence, was very fond of game- cocks, but maintained that no cock was truly game unless its mother was a “blue hen.” As he was exceedingly popular, his regiment was called “The Blue Hens,” and the term was afterwards transferred to the state and its inhabitants.

Your mother was a blue hen, no doubt; a reproof to a braggart, especially to one who boasts of his ancestry.

Blue Knight (The), sir Persaunt of India, called by Tennyson “Morning Star” or “Phosphorus.” He was one of the four brothers who kept the passages of Castle Perilous, and was overthrown by sir Gareth.—Sir T. Malory: History of Prince Arthur, i. 131 (1470); Tennyson: Idylls (“Gareth and Lynette”).

(It is evidently a blunder in Tennyson to call the Blue Knight “Morning Star,” and the Green Knight “Evening Star.” The reverse is correct, and in the old romance the Green Knight was at day-break, and with the Blue Knight at sunset.)

Blue Moon. Once in a blue moon, very rarely indeed. The expression is a modification of “the Greek Kalends,” which means “never,” because there were no Greek Kalends.

Blue Roses, unattainable luxuries or indulgences, There are no such things as blue roses.

The blue rose of German romance represented the ideal and unattainable.

Blue-Skin. Joseph Blake, an English burglar, was so called from his complexion. He was executed in 1723.

Blue-Stocking (A). (See Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, p. 152.)

Bluff (Captain Noll), a swaggering bully and boaster. He says, “I think that fighting for fighting’s sake is sufficient cause for fighting. Fighting, to me, is religion and the laws.”

“You must know, sir, I was resident in Flanders the last campaign … there was scarce anything of moment done, but a humble servant of yours … had the greatest share in’t. … Well, would you think it, in all this time … that rascally Gazette never so much as once mentioned me? Not once, by the wars! Took no more notice of Noll Bluff than if he had not been in the land of the living.”—Congreve: The Old Bachelor (1693).

Bluff Hal or Bluff Harry, Henry VIII. (1491, 1509–1547).

Ere yet in scorn of Peter’s pence,
And numbered bead and shrift,
Bluff Hall he broke into the spence [a larder],
And turned the cowls adrift.

Blumine, a young hazel-eyed, beautiful, and high-born maiden, with whom Teufelsdrockh falls in love. Carlyle: Sartor Resartus (1838).

Blunder. The bold but disastrous charge of t he British Light Brigade at Balaclava is attributed to a blunder; even Tennyson says of it, “Some one hath blundered;” but Thomas Woolner, with less reserve, says—

A general
May blunder troops to death, yea, and receive
His senate’s vote of thanks.
   —My Beautiful Lady.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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