blow hot and cold, to favor something at first and reject it later on; waver; vacillate: His enthusiasm for the job blows hot and cold.
    blow off steam, Informal. steam(def 23).Also let off steam.
    blow one's cool, Slang. to lose one's composure; become angry, frantic, or flustered.
    blow one's cover. cover(def 52).
    blow one's lines, Theater. to forget or make an error in a speaking part or stage directions.
    blow one's mind. mind(def 36).
    blow one's stack. stack(def 23).
    blow one's top. top1(def 43).

Origin of blow

before 1000; Middle English blowen (v.), Old English blāwan; cognate with Latin flāre to blow Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for blow-out

Contemporary Examples of blow-out

Historical Examples of blow-out

  • Enough left to give the boys a blow-out to-night, and then, heigho!

  • The doubtful spot on the Jim Crow was not a blow-out, but a "horse."

    Blazed Trail Stories

    Stewart Edward White

  • It isn't every day in your life you can come and have a blow-out on Crusoe Island.

  • We had a blow-out for him, and all those present were very discreet.

    An Anarchist Woman

    Hutchins Hapgood

  • I saw him again when we had our second blow-out near Jamaica.

    Under Cover

    Roi Cooper Megrue

British Dictionary definitions for blow-out



verb blows, blowing, blew or blown

(of a current of air, the wind, etc) to be or cause to be in motion
(intr) to move or be carried by or as if by wind or aira feather blew in through the window
to expel (air, cigarette smoke, etc) through the mouth or nose
to force or cause (air, dust, etc) to move (into, in, over, etc) by using an instrument or by expelling breath
(intr) to breathe hard; pant
(sometimes foll by up) to inflate with air or the breath
(intr) (of wind, a storm, etc) to make a roaring or whistling sound
to cause (a whistle, siren, etc) to sound by forcing air into it, as a signal, or (of a whistle, etc) to sound thus
(tr) to force air from the lungs through (the nose) to clear out mucus or obstructing matter
(often foll by up, down, in, etc) to explode, break, or disintegrate completelythe bridge blew down in the gale
electronics to burn out (a fuse, valve, etc) because of excessive current or (of a fuse, valve, etc) to burn out
blow a fuse slang to lose one's temper
(intr) (of a whale) to spout water or air from the lungs
(tr) to wind (a horse) by making it run excessively
to cause (a wind instrument) to sound by forcing one's breath into the mouthpiece, or (of such an instrument) to sound in this way
(intr) jazz slang to play in a jam session
(intr) (of flies) to lay eggs (in)
to shape (glass, ornaments, etc) by forcing air or gas through the material when molten
(intr) mainly Scot, Australian and NZ to boast or brag
(tr) slang
  1. to spend (money) freely
  2. USto treat or entertain
(tr) slang to use (an opportunity) ineffectively
slang to go suddenly away (from)
(tr) slang to expose or betray (a person or thing meant to be kept secret)
(tr) US slang to inhale (a drug)
(intr) slang to masturbate
past participle blowed informal another word for damn I'll be blowed; blow it!
draughts another word for huff (def. 4)
blow hot and cold to vacillate
blow a kiss or blow kisses to kiss one's hand, then blow across it as if to carry the kiss through the air to another person
blow one's own trumpet to boast of one's own skills or good qualities
blow someone's mind slang
  1. (of a drug, esp LSD) to alter someone's mental state
  2. esp US and Canadianto astound or surprise someone
blow one's top, esp US and Canadian blow one's stack or blow one's lid informal to lose one's temper


the act or an instance of blowing
the sound produced by blowing
a blast of air or wind
  1. a stage in the Bessemer process in which air is blasted upwards through molten pig iron
  2. the quantity of metal treated in a Bessemer converter
  1. a rush of air into a mine
  2. the collapse of a mine roof
jazz slang a jam session
  1. British a slang name for cannabis (def. 2)
  2. US a slang name for cocaine

Word Origin for blow

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




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



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

Word Origin and History for blow-out



"move air," Old English blawan "blow, breathe, make an air current; kindle; inflate; sound a wind instrument" (class VII strong verb; past tense bleow, past participle blawen), from Proto-Germanic *blæ-anan (cf. Old High German blaen, German blähen), from PIE *bhle- "to swell, blow up" (cf. Latin flare "to blow"), possibly identical with *bhel- (2) "to blow, swell" (see bole).

Meaning "to squander" (of money) is from 1874. Sense of "depart suddenly" is from 1902. Slang "do fellatio on" sense is from 1933, as blow (someone) off, originally among prostitutes (cf. blow job). This usage probably is not connected to the colloquial imprecation (1781, associated with sailors, e.g. Popeye's "well, blow me down!"), which has past participle blowed. Meaning "to spend (money) foolishly and all at once" is 1890s; that of "bungle an opportunity" is from 1943. To blow over "pass" is from 1610s, originally of storms. To blow (someone's) mind was in use by 1967; there is a song title "Blow Your Mind" released in a 1965 Mirawood recording by a group called The Gas Company.



"to bloom, blossom" (intransitive), from Old English blowan "to flower, blossom, flourish," from Proto-Germanic *blæ- (cf. Old Saxon bloian, Old Frisian bloia, Middle Dutch and Dutch bloeien, Old High German bluoen, German blühen), from PIE *bhle-, extended form of *bhel- (2) "to blow, inflate, swell" (see bole). This word is the source of the blown in full-blown.



"hard hit," mid-15c., blowe, from northern and East Midlands dialects, perhaps from Middle Dutch blouwen "to beat," a common Germanic word of unknown origin (cf. German bleuen, Gothic bliggwan "to strike"). Influenced in English by blow (v.1). In reference to descriptions or accounts, blow-by-blow is recorded from 1921, American English, originally of prize-fight broadcasts.

LIKE a hungry kitten loves its saucer of warm milk, so do radio fans joyfully listen to the blow-by-blow broadcast description of a boxing bout. ["The Wireless Age," December 1922]



"a blowing, a blast," 1650s, from blow (v.1).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with blow-out


In addition to the idioms beginning with blow

  • blow a fuse
  • blow away
  • blow by blow
  • blow hot and cold
  • blow in
  • blow it
  • blow off
  • blow off steam
  • blow one's brains out
  • blow one's cool
  • blow one's cover
  • blow one's mind
  • blow one's own horn
  • blow one's top
  • blow out
  • blow over
  • blow sky-high
  • blow someone to
  • blow the lid off
  • blow the whistle on
  • blow up

also see:

  • at one stroke (blow)
  • body blow
  • come to blows
  • keep (blow) one's cool
  • low blow
  • way the wind blows
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.