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[bluhd-ee] /ˈblʌd i/
adjective, bloodier, bloodiest.
stained or covered with blood:
a bloody handkerchief.
a bloody nose.
characterized by bloodshed:
bloody battle; a bloody rule.
inclined to bloodshed; bloodthirsty:
a bloody dictator.
of, relating to, or resembling blood; containing or composed of blood:
bloody tissue.
Slang. (used as an intensifier):
a bloody shame; a bloody nuisance.
verb (used with object), bloodied, bloodying.
to stain or smear with blood.
to cause to bleed, as by a blow or accident:
to bloody someone's nose.
Slang. (used as an intensifier):
bloody awful; bloody wonderful.
Origin of bloody
before 1000; Middle English blody, Old English blōdig. See blood, -y1
Related forms
bloodily, adverb
bloodiness, noun
unbloodily, adverb
unbloodiness, noun
unbloody, adjective
1–3. sanguinary, ensanguined, gory. 4. murderous, homicidal; savage, brutal, ferocious; cruel, inhuman, ruthless. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for bloodily
Historical Examples
  • But the Elsinore drives on, and day by day her history is bloodily written.

  • bloodily, bloodily fall the battle-axe, unexhausted, inexorable!

    Darkness and Dawn Frederic W. Farrar
  • The enemy again rushed on them, only to be bloodily repulsed.

  • By their arms thay have prevailed, how bloodily Your Majesty knows.

    Oliver Cromwell John Drinkwater
  • And if he could, he knew that the act would be bloodily avenged if he ever landed again in that part of Ireland.

    The Wild Geese Stanley John Weyman
  • And when Kansas was being settled so bloodily, in our slavery days, he felt wishful to go there.

    The Crow's Nest Clarence Day, Jr.
  • These words were penned four or five years before the battle of the Monongahela confirmed so bloodily their truth.

  • But the vacation following he spent in bloodily helping to drive the Jayhawkers back across the Kansas line.

    The Missourian

    Eugene P. (Eugene Percy) Lyle
  • This was intensified when Burnside was so bloodily repulsed at Fredericksburg at the close of the first week of the session.

  • The war went on as bloodily as monotonously and fruitlessly, but the face of Europe had lately altered.

    A Popular History of France From The Earliest Times Francois Pierre Guillaume Guizot
British Dictionary definitions for bloodily


adjective bloodier, bloodiest
covered or stained with blood
resembling or composed of blood
marked by much killing and bloodshed: a bloody war
cruel or murderous: a bloody tyrant
of a deep red colour; blood-red
adverb, adjective
(slang, mainly Brit) (intensifier): a bloody fool, bloody fine food
verb bloodies, bloodying, bloodied
(transitive) to stain with blood
Derived Forms
bloodily, adverb
bloodiness, noun
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 bloodily

1560s, from bloody + -ly (2).



Old Engish blodig, adjective from blod (see blood). Common Germanic, cf. Old Frisian blodich, Old Saxon blôdag, Dutch bloedig, Old High German bluotag, German blutig.

It 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."

Partridge 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."

The 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]
Shaw 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.



1520s, from bloody (adj.). Related: Bloodied; bloodying. Old English had blodigan "to make bloody," but the modern word seems to be a later formation.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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bloodily in Medicine

bloody blood·y (blŭd'ē)
adj. blood·i·er, blood·i·est

  1. Stained with blood.

  2. Of, characteristic of, or containing blood.

  3. Suggesting the color of blood; blood-red.

v. blood·ied, blood·y·ing, blood·ies
  1. To stain, spot, or color with or as if with blood.

  2. To make bleed, as by injuring or wounding.

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