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#45
From Word-Detective:
 
<A target=_blank name=bloody target=_blank><FONT color=blue size=+1>The inexplicable expletive.</FONT></A> Dear Word Detective: I am wondering about the English expletive "bloody." I understand it's derived from "By Our Lady" Is this true? -- Mizoe, via the Internet. Almost certainly not. No one knows for sure where "bloody" came from, and although many theories have been proposed over the past few hundred years, no solid evidence has ever emerged to settle the question. That mystery about the origin of the word, however, doesn't stop the story of "bloody" from being one of the stranger word tales around. To Americans, "bloody" means next to nothing -- it's simply a word we hear in British movies and vaguely recognize as some sort of intensifier ("It's this bloody heat that's driving the men mad, Colonel."). To a Briton, however, "bloody" is a heavy-duty expletive, one that even in these liberal times could probably not be used in polite society without shocking at least a few of those present. There's really no equivalent to "bloody" in American English, but if there were I'd probably not be able to print it in this column. Even today, British newspapers usually will only print "bloody" if it is contained safely within a direct quotation. Among the working class of Britain, however, "bloody" is as popular as our familiar four-letter expletives are on American loading docks (or in certain Oval Offices). "Bloody" is even more popular Down Under, where it is known as "The Great Australian Adjective." What is truly odd about upper-class Britons' "bloody" squeamishness is that until about 1750, "bloody" was considered a acceptable if somewhat unpleasant word, often used as an intensifier in everyday conversation. The emergence of violent gangs of aristocratic thugs known as "bloods" (probably from "blood thirsty") in the 18th century may have been the impetus for the public banishment of "bloody" from polite speech, but in any case the exile lasted for more than 200 years and is only now easing. All of which proves that the history of words is every bit as irrational as the people who use them.
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TEA - by Historian - 08-03-2005, 04:12 PM
TEA - by PinoyMonk - 08-03-2005, 04:14 PM
TEA - by saintsforheaven - 08-03-2005, 04:16 PM
TEA - by VoxClamantis - 08-03-2005, 04:21 PM
TEA - by saintsforheaven - 08-03-2005, 04:27 PM
TEA - by Historian - 08-03-2005, 04:30 PM
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TEA - by PinoyMonk - 08-03-2005, 04:35 PM
TEA - by Jakub - 08-03-2005, 08:53 PM
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TEA - by kjvail - 08-03-2005, 09:43 PM
TEA - by Historian - 08-03-2005, 10:16 PM
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TEA - by francis - 08-03-2005, 11:39 PM
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TEA - by francis - 08-04-2005, 12:02 AM
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TEA - by saintsforheaven - 08-04-2005, 01:31 AM
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TEA - by PinoyMonk - 01-29-2006, 12:43 PM
TEA - by Historian - 01-29-2006, 12:51 PM
TEA - by little_angel - 01-29-2006, 02:58 PM
TEA - by Historian - 01-29-2006, 03:01 PM
TEA - by Alf - 01-29-2006, 03:05 PM
TEA - by Marisa - 01-29-2006, 03:25 PM
TEA - by StThomasMore - 01-29-2006, 04:21 PM
TEA - by Historian - 01-29-2006, 06:33 PM
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TEA - by Historian - 01-31-2006, 11:45 PM
TEA - by Varus - 01-31-2006, 11:48 PM
TEA - by Historian - 02-01-2006, 12:11 AM



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