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bluestocking

[bloo-stok-ing]
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noun
  1. a woman with considerable scholarly, literary, or intellectual ability or interest.
  2. a member of a mid-18th-century London literary circle: Lady Montagu was a celebrated bluestocking.

Origin of bluestocking

1675–85; so called from the informal attire, especially blue woolen instead of black silk stockings, worn by some women of the group (def 2)
Related formsblue·stock·ing·ism, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for bluestocking

Historical Examples

  • The don and the bluestocking have to live, so have the cowboy and the cook.

    Race Improvement : or, Eugenics : a Little Book on a Great Subject

    La Reine Helen Baker

  • "Men do so hate a bluestocking," she said once pensively to her friend Emily.

    Why Joan?

    Eleanor Mercein Kelly

  • Dear Bluestocking, you really are— murmured the Gentle Lady.

  • This was the most brilliant moment in the public career of our bluestocking.

  • I am not going to caricature a bluestocking, but to point out one or two real dangers.


British Dictionary definitions for bluestocking

bluestocking

noun
  1. usually derogatory a scholarly or intellectual woman

Word Origin

from the blue worsted stockings worn by members of a C18 literary society
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

Word Origin and History for bluestocking

n.

also blue-stocking, 1790, derisive word for a woman considered too learned, traces to a London literary salon founded c.1750 by Elizabeth Montagu on the Parisian model, featuring intellectual discussion instead of card games, and in place of ostentatious evening attire, simple dress, including Benjamin Stillingfleet's blue-gray tradesman's hose which he wore in place of gentleman's black silk, hence the term, first applied in derision to the whole set by Admiral Boscawen. None of the ladies wore blue stockings. Borrowed by the neighbors in loan-translations, cf. French bas-bleu, Dutch blauwkous, German Blaustrumpf.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

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