[ bloh ]
/ bloʊ /
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See synonyms for: blow / blew / blowing / blown on Thesaurus.com

a sudden, hard stroke with a hand, fist, or weapon: a blow to the head.
a sudden shock, calamity, reversal, etc.: His wife's death was a terrible blow to him.
a sudden attack or drastic action: The invaders struck a blow to the south.
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Idioms about blow

Origin of blow

First recorded in 1425–75; late Middle English blaw, northern and Scottish form representing later blowe; akin to Old High German bliuwan, Gothic bliggwan “to beat”

synonym study for blow

1, 2. Blow, stroke, hit, slap refer to a sudden or forceful impact, but differ in their literal and figurative uses. Blow emphasizes the violence of the impact and, figuratively, adverse fortune: a blow from a hammer; a blow to one's hopes. Stroke emphasizes movement as well as impact; it indicates precision or, figuratively, either good fortune or sudden or unexpected pain or misfortune: the stroke of a piston; a stroke of luck, of lightning; a paralytic stroke. Hit, in its current uses, emphasizes the successful result of a literal or figurative blow, impact, or impression, for example in baseball, social life, the theater: a two-base hit; to make a hit with someone; a smash hit. Slap, a blow with the open hand or with something flat, emphasizes the instrument with which the blow is delivered and, often, the resulting sound; figuratively, it connotes an unfriendly or sarcastic statement, action, or attitude: Her coldness was like a slap in the face; the slap of a beaver's tail on the water.

Other definitions for blow (2 of 3)

Origin of blow

First recorded before 1000; Middle English verb blowen, Old English blāwan; akin to Latin flāre “to blow”

Other definitions for blow (3 of 3)

[ bloh ]
/ bloʊ /

a yield or display of blossoms: the lilac's lavender blows.
a display of anything bright or brilliant: a rich, full blow of color.
state of blossoming; a flowering: a border of tulips in full blow.
verb (used with or without object), blew, blown, blow·ing.
Archaic. to blossom or cause to blossom.

Origin of blow

First recorded before 1000; Middle English verb blowen, Old English blōwan; akin to German blühen “to bloom,” Latin flōs flower
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What is a basic definition of blow?

Blow describes the motion of the air or wind or to move with help from air or wind. Blow also refers to a sudden, impactful hit or strike. Blow has many other senses as a verb, a noun, and a slang term.

When wind or air blows, it moves. When you are outside on a windy day, you can feel the air blow against you or see evidence of it blowing as trees wave or leaves fly through the air.

  • Used in a sentence: Warm air blew across Kentucky this morning. 

To blow also describes something that is moving with the assistance of air or wind. Usually, this sense of blow is followed by a term that specifically describes how something moved.

  • Real-life examples: On a windy day, leaves may blow across the yard, your hair may blow into your face, and loose papers may blow around.
  • Used in a sentence: We could see dark clouds blowing toward us. 

A blow is a sudden, hard hit.

  • Used in a sentence: Frank collapsed after taking a blow to the leg from the runaway bicycle. 

In a related sense, blow refers to figurative damage caused by a disaster, tragedy, or other negative event.

  • Used in a sentence: Losing the fight was a huge blow to my confidence.

Where does blow come from?

The first records of blow come from before the year 1000. It ultimately comes from the Old English verb blāwan, meaning “to blow,” as in the movement of the wind.

The first records of blow to mean “a sudden strike” come from around 1425. It comes from the late Middle English blaw. It is related to the Gothic word bliggwan, meaning “to beat.”

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What are some other forms related to blow?

What are some synonyms for blow?

What are some words that share a root or word element with blow?

What are some words that often get used in discussing blow?

How is blow used in real life?

Blow is a very common word that often refers to the movement of wind or means to move with help from air or wind.

Try using blow!

True or False?

The word blow is often used to refer to the movement of water.

How to use blow in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for blow (1 of 3)

/ (bləʊ) /

verb blows, blowing, blew or blown

Word Origin for blow

Old English blāwan, related to Old Norse blǣr gust of wind, Old High German blāen, Latin flāre

British Dictionary definitions for blow (2 of 3)

/ (bləʊ) /

a powerful or heavy stroke with the fist, a weapon, etc
at one blow or at a blow by or with only one action; all at one time
a sudden setback; unfortunate eventto come as a blow
come to blows
  1. to fight
  2. to result in a fight
an attacking actiona blow for freedom
Australian and NZ a stroke of the shears in sheep-shearing

Word Origin for blow

C15: probably of Germanic origin; compare Old High German bliuwan to beat

British Dictionary definitions for blow (3 of 3)

/ (bləʊ) /

verb blows, blowing, blew or blown
(intr) (of a plant or flower) to blossom or open out
(tr) to produce (flowers)
a mass of blossoms
the state or period of blossoming (esp in the phrase in full blow)

Word Origin for blow

Old English blōwan; related to Old Frisian blōia to bloom, Old High German bluoen, Latin flōs flower; see bloom 1
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

Other Idioms and Phrases with blow


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