the act, fact, or process of losing blood or having blood flow.
the act or process of drawing blood from a person, especially surgically; bloodletting.
the extension of color beyond an edge or border, especially so as to combine with a contiguous color or to affect an adjacent area.



British Slang. (used as an intensifier): a bleeding silly idea.

Origin of bleeding

1175–1225; Middle English (noun and adj.); see bleed, -ing1, -ing2
Related formsnon·bleed·ing, adjective, nounun·bleed·ing, adjective



verb (used without object), bled [bled] /blɛd/, bleed·ing.

to lose blood from the vascular system, either internally into the body or externally through a natural orifice or break in the skin: to bleed from the mouth.
(of injured tissue, excrescences, etc.) to exude blood: a wart that is bleeding.
(of a plant) to exude sap, resin, etc., from a wound.
(of dye or paint) to run or become diffused: All the colors bled when the dress was washed.
(of a liquid) to ooze or flow out.
to feel pity, sorrow, or anguish: My heart bleeds for you. A nation bleeds for its dead heroes.
to suffer wounds or death, as in battle: The soldiers bled for the cause.
(of a broadcast signal) to interfere with another signal: CB transmissions bleeding over into walkie-talkies.
Printing. (of printed matter) to run off the edges of a page, either by design or through mutilation caused by too close trimming.
Slang. to pay out money, as when overcharged or threatened with extortion.
Metallurgy. (of a cooling ingot or casting) to have molten metal force its way through the solidified exterior because of internal gas pressure.

verb (used with object), bled [bled] /blɛd/, bleed·ing.

to cause to lose blood, especially surgically: Doctors no longer bleed their patients to reduce fever.
to lose or emit (blood or sap).
to drain or draw sap, water, electricity, etc., from (something): to bleed a pipeline of excess air.
to remove trapped air from (as an automotive brake system) by opening a bleeder valve.
to obtain an excessive amount from; extort money from.
  1. to permit (printed illustrations or ornamentation) to run off the page or sheet.
  2. to trim the margin of (a book or sheet) so closely as to mutilate the text or illustration.


  1. a sheet or page margin trimmed so as to mutilate the text or illustration.
  2. a part thus trimmed off.
Medicine/Medical. an instance of bleeding; hemorrhage: an intracranial bleed.


Printing. characterized by bleeding: a bleed page.

Verb Phrases

bleed off, to draw or extract: to bleed off sap from a maple tree; to bleed off static electricity.

Origin of bleed

before 1000; Middle English bleden, Old English blēdan, derivative of blōd blood
Related formsout·bleed, verb (used with object), out·bled, out·bleed·ing.un·bled, adjective
Can be confusedbled bleed blood Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for bleeding

Contemporary Examples of bleeding

Historical Examples of bleeding

  • So he just sat there, quivering, bleeding, battered—but a conqueror.

    A Night Out

    Edward Peple

  • First, I got a bandage on my wound, to stop the bleeding, and then I had an opportunity to look about me.

    Ned Myers

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • "I suppose we're all wounded," said Dick as he wiped a bleeding cheek.

    The Rock of Chickamauga

    Joseph A. Altsheler

  • Somehow or other, this was the general misfortune of Bleeding Heart Yard.

    Little Dorrit

    Charles Dickens

  • They began their perquisitions in Bleeding Heart Yard that same forenoon.

    Little Dorrit

    Charles Dickens

British Dictionary definitions for bleeding


adjective, adverb British slang

(intensifier)a bleeding fool; it's bleeding beautiful


verb bleeds, bleeding or bled

(intr) to lose or emit blood
(tr) to remove or draw blood from (a person or animal)
(intr) to be injured or die, as for a cause or one's country
(of plants) to exude (sap or resin), esp from a cut
(tr) informal to obtain relatively large amounts of money, goods, etc, esp by extortion
(tr) to draw liquid or gas from (a container or enclosed system)to bleed the hydraulic brakes
(intr) (of dye or paint) to run or become mixed, as when wet
to print or be printed so that text, illustrations, etc, run off the trimmed page
(tr) to trim (the edges of a printed sheet) so closely as to cut off some of the printed matter
(intr) civil engineering building trades (of a mixture) to exude (a liquid) during compaction, such as water from cement
bleed someone or something dry to extort gradually all the resources of a person or thing
one's heart bleeds used to express sympathetic grief, but often used ironically


  1. an illustration or sheet trimmed so that some matter is bled
  2. (as modifier)a bleed page
printing the trimmings of a sheet that has been bled

Word Origin for bleed

Old English blēdan; see blood
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 bleeding

late 14c., "a flowing out of blood;" mid-15c. as "a drawing out of blood;" verbal noun formed after earlier present participle adjective (early 13c.) of bleed. Figurative use is from 1796. As a euphemism for bloody, from 1858. In U.S. history, Bleeding Kansas, in reference to the slavery disputes in that territory 1854-60, is attested from 1856, said to have been first used by the New York "Tribune."



Old English bledan "to let blood," in Middle English and after, "to let blood from surgically;" also "to emit blood," from Proto-Germanic *blodjan "emit blood" (cf. Old Norse blæða, German bluten), from *bhlo-to- "swell, gush, spurt" (see blood (n.)). Meaning "extort money from" is from 1670s. Of dyes or paints, from 1862. Related: Bled; bleeding.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for bleeding




To lose blood as a result of rupture or severance of blood vessels.
To take or remove blood from.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Idioms and Phrases with bleeding


In addition to the idiom beginning with bleed

  • bleed someone white

also see:

  • my heart bleeds for you
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.