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[bluhd-let-ing] /ˈblʌdˌlɛt ɪŋ/
the act or practice of letting blood by opening a vein; phlebotomy.
bloodshed or slaughter.
Informal. severe cutbacks or reduction in personnel, appropriations, etc.:
The company went through a period of bloodletting in the 1970s.
Origin of bloodletting
First recorded in 1175-1225, bloodletting is from the Middle English word blod letunge. See blood, let1, -ing1
Related forms
bloodletter, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for blood-letting
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • With regard to blood-letting the various orders had different customs.

    English Villages P. H. Ditchfield
  • It was a political fever that had to be gone through with; and blood-letting was the only cure.

    Blood and Iron John Hubert Greusel
  • In any case, the dragoon was obviously plethoric and would be the better for a blood-letting.

    Captain Blood Rafael Sabatini
  • And sent Queeth's crowd in to do your blood-letting for you?

    Victory Lester del Rey
  • He staggered back, and the blood-letting seemed to relieve his temper.

    Robert Orange John Oliver Hobbes
  • With a blood-letting and an electuary, I will warrant him sound within a month.

    Sir Nigel Arthur Conan Doyle
  • The blood-letting was a sorely needed medicine to her choked veins.

    The Watchers of the Trails Charles G. D. Roberts
  • He wrote a remarkable memoir on the cure of disease by blood-letting.

British Dictionary definitions for blood-letting


the therapeutic removal of blood, as in relieving congestive heart failure See also phlebotomy
bloodshed, esp in a blood feud
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for blood-letting

also bloodletting, early 13c., blod letunge, from blood (n.) + let (v.). Hyphenated from 17c., one word from mid-19c. Old English had blodlæte "blood-letting."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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blood-letting in Medicine

bloodletting blood·let·ting (blŭd'lět'ĭng)
The theropeutic removal of blood, usually from a vein.

blood'let'ter n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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