verb (used with object)

Hunting. to give (hounds) a first sight or taste of blood.Compare flesh(def 14).
to stain with blood.


    get/have one's blood up, to become or be enraged or impassioned: Injustice of any sort always gets my blood up.
    have someone's blood on one's head/hands, to be to blame for someone's affliction or death: Though a criminal, he had no blood on his hands.
    in cold blood, deliberately; ruthlessly: The dictator, in cold blood, ordered the execution of all his political enemies.
    make one's blood boil, to inspire resentment, anger, or indignation: Such carelessness makes my blood boil.
    make one's blood run cold, to fill with terror; frighten: The dark, deserted street in that unfamiliar neighborhood made her blood run cold.
    sweat blood. sweat(def 37).
    taste blood, to experience a new sensation, usually a violent or destructive one, and acquire an appetite for it: Once the team had tasted blood, there was no preventing them from winning by a wide margin.

Origin of blood

before 1000; Middle English blo(o)d, Old English blōd; cognate with Old Frisian, Old Saxon blōd, Old High German bluot (German Blut), Old Norse blōth, Gothic bloth < Germanic *blōdan, an old neuter adj. meaning “spurting” that accompanied the lost IE noun *HesHr (> Hittite eshar) blood; akin to bloom1; for the meaning cf. spurt and sprout
Related formsblood·like, adjective
Can be confusedbled bleed blood

Synonyms for blood Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for blood

Contemporary Examples of blood

Historical Examples of blood

British Dictionary definitions for blood



a reddish fluid in vertebrates that is pumped by the heart through the arteries and veins, supplies tissues with nutrients, oxygen, etc, and removes waste products. It consists of a fluid (see blood plasma) containing cells (erythrocytes, leucocytes, and platelets)Related adjectives: haemal, haematic, sanguineous
a similar fluid in such invertebrates as annelids and arthropods
bloodshed, esp when resulting in murder
the guilt or responsibility for killing or injuring (esp in the phrase to have blood on one's hands or head)
life itself; lifeblood
relationship through being of the same family, race, or kind; kinship
blood, sweat and tears informal hard work and concentrated effort
flesh and blood
  1. near kindred or kinship, esp that between a parent and child
  2. human nature (esp in the phrase it's more than flesh and blood can stand)
ethnic or national descentof Spanish blood
in one's blood as a natural or inherited characteristic or talent
the blood royal or noble descenta prince of the blood
temperament; disposition; temper
  1. good or pure breeding; pedigree
  2. (as modifier)blood horses
people viewed as members of a group, esp as an invigorating force (in the phrases new blood, young blood)
mainly British rare a dashing young man; dandy; rake
the sensual or carnal nature of man
obsolete one of the four bodily humoursSee humour (def. 8)
bad blood hatred; ill feeling
blood is thicker than water family duties and loyalty outweigh other ties
have one's blood up or get one's blood up to be or cause to be angry or inflamed
in cold blood showing no passion; deliberately; ruthlessly
make one's blood boil to cause to be angry or indignant
make one's blood run cold to fill with horror

verb (tr)

hunting to cause (young hounds) to taste the blood of a freshly killed quarry and so become keen to hunt
hunting to smear the cheeks or forehead of (a person) with the blood of the kill as an initiation in hunting
to initiate (a person) to an activity or organization, esp by real-life experience

Word Origin for blood

Old English blōd; related to Old Norse blōth, Old High German bluot



Thomas, known as Colonel Blood . ?1618–80, Irish adventurer, who tried to steal the crown jewels (1671)
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 blood

Old English blod "blood," from Proto-Germanic *blodam "blood" (cf. Old Frisian blod, Old Saxon blôd, Old Norse bloð, Middle Dutch bloet, Dutch bloed, Old High German bluot, German Blut, Gothic bloþ), from PIE *bhlo-to-, perhaps meaning "to swell, gush, spurt," or "that which bursts out" (cf. Gothic bloþ "blood," bloma "flower"), in which case it would be from suffixed form of *bhle-, extended form of *bhel- (2) "to blow, inflate, swell" (see bole).

There seems to have been an avoidance in Germanic, perhaps from taboo, of other PIE words for "blood," such as *esen- (cf. poetic Greek ear, Old Latin aser, Sanskrit asrk, Hittite eshar); also *krew-, which seems to have had a sense of "blood outside the body, gore from a wound" (cf. Latin cruour "blood from a wound," Greek kreas "meat"), which came to mean simply "blood" in the Balto-Slavic group and some other languages.

Inheritance and relationship senses (also found in Latin sanguis, Greek haima) emerged in English by mid-13c. Meaning "person of one's family, race, kindred" is late 14c. As the seat of passions, it is recorded from c.1300. Slang meaning "hot spark, a man of fire" [Johnson] is from 1560s. Blood pressure attested from 1862. Blood money is from 1530s; originally money paid for causing the death of another.

Blood type is from 1928. That there were different types of human blood was discovered c.1900 during early experiments in transfusion. To get blood from a stone "do the impossible" is from 1660s. Expression blood is thicker than water attested by 1803, in reference to family ties of those separated by distance. New (or fresh) blood, in reference to members of an organization or group is from 1880.


1590s, "to smeart with blood;" 1620s, "to cause to bleed," from blood (n.). Meaning "to give an animal its first taste of blood" is from 1781. Related: Blooded; blooding.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

blood in Medicine




The fluid consisting of plasma, red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets that is circulated by the heart through the arteries and veins, carrying oxygen and nutrients to and waste materials away from all body tissues.
One of the four humors of ancient and medieval physiology, identified with the blood found in the blood vessels, and believed to cause cheerfulness.
Descent from a common ancestor; parental lineage.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

blood in Science



The fluid tissue that circulates through the body of a vertebrate animal by the pumping action of the heart. Blood is the transport medium by which oxygen and nutrients are carried to body cells and waste products are picked up for excretion. Blood consists of plasma in which red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets are suspended.
A fluid that is similar in function in many invertebrate animals.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

blood in Culture


The fluid circulating through the heart, arteries, veins, and capillaries of the circulatory system. Blood carries oxygen and nutrients to the cells of the body and removes waste materials and carbon dioxide. It is composed of plasma (mainly water, but with a mixture of hormones, nutrients, gases, antibodies, and wastes), red blood cells (which carry oxygen), white blood cells (which help combat infection), and platelets (which help the blood clot).

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with blood


In addition to the idiom beginning with blood

  • blood is thicker than water

also see:

  • bad blood
  • draw blood
  • flesh and blood
  • in cold blood
  • in one's blood
  • make one's blood boil
  • make one's blood run cold
  • new blood
  • out for (blood)
  • run in the blood (family)
  • scream bloody murder
  • shed blood
  • sporting blood
  • sweat blood

Also see underbleed.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.