[ bloh ]
See synonyms for blow on
  1. a sudden, hard stroke with a hand, fist, or weapon: a blow to the head.

  2. a sudden shock, calamity, reversal, etc.: His wife's death was a terrible blow to him.

  1. a sudden attack or drastic action: The invaders struck a blow to the south.

Idioms about blow

  1. at one blow, with a single act: He became wealthy and famous at one blow.: Also at a blow.

  2. come to blows, to begin to fight, especially to engage in physical combat: They came to blows over the referee's ruling.

  1. strike a blow, to hit.

  2. strike a blow for, to further or advance the cause of: to strike a blow for civil rights.

  3. without striking a blow, without a battle or contest: The military coup was accomplished without striking a 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 words for blow

Other definitions for blow (2 of 3)

[ bloh ]

verb (used without object),blew, blown, blow·ing.
  1. (of the wind or air) to be in motion.

  2. to move along, carried by or as by the wind: Dust seemed to blow through every crack in the house.

  1. to produce or emit a current of air, as with the mouth or a bellows: Blow on your hands to warm them.

  2. (of a horn, trumpet, etc.) to give out sound.

  3. to make a blowing sound; whistle: The siren blew just as we rounded the corner.

  4. (of horses) to breathe hard or quickly; pant.

  5. Zoology. (of a whale) to spout.

  6. (of a fuse, light bulb, vacuum tube, tire, etc.) to burst, melt, stop functioning, or be destroyed by exploding, overloading, etc. (often followed by out): A fuse blew just as we sat down to dinner. The rear tire blew out.

  7. to burst from internal pressure: Poorly sealed cans will often blow.

  8. Slang. to leave; depart.

  9. Slang: Vulgar. to perform fellatio on a man.

  10. Slang. to be unpleasant or unfortunate: He’s so broke that he has to move back in with his parents, which totally blows.

  11. Slang. to be inferior, as in quality or execution: The vacation package blew so bad that everyone is asking the resort for a refund.

  12. Informal. to boast; brag: He kept blowing about his medals.

verb (used with object),blew, blown, blow·ing.
  1. to drive by means of a current of air: A sudden breeze blew the smoke into the house.

  2. to spread or make widely known: Growing panic blew the rumor about.

  1. to drive a current of air upon.

  2. to clear or empty by forcing air through: Try blowing your nose.

  3. to shape (glass, smoke, etc.) with a current of air: to blow smoke rings.

  4. to cause to sound, as by a current of air: Blow your horn at the next crossing.

  5. Jazz. to play (a musical instrument of any kind).

  6. to cause to explode (often followed by up, to bits, etc.): A mine blew the ship to bits.

  7. to burst, melt, burn out, or destroy by exploding, overloading, etc. (often followed by out): to blow a tire; blow a fuse.

  8. to destroy; demolish (usually followed by down, over, etc.): The windstorm blew down his house.

  9. Informal.

    • to spend money on.

    • to squander; spend quickly: He blew a fortune on racing cars.

    • to waste; lose: The team blew the lead by making a bad play.

  10. Informal. to mishandle, ruin, botch; make a mess of; bungle: With one stupid mistake he blew the whole project. It was your last chance and you blew it!

  11. to put (a horse) out of breath by fatigue.

  12. Slang. to depart from: to blow town.

  13. Slang: Vulgar. to perform fellatio on: She was blowing strangers for money to support her drug habit. Blow me!

  14. Slang. to smoke (marijuana or other drugs).

  15. Slang. to damn: Blow the cost!

  1. a blast of air or wind: to clean machinery with a blow.

  2. Informal. a violent windstorm, gale, hurricane, or the like: one of the worst blows we ever had around here.

  1. an act of producing a blast of air, as in playing a wind instrument: a few discordant blows by the bugler.

  2. Slang. cocaine.

  3. Metallurgy.

    • a blast of air forced through a converter, as in the production of steel or copper.

    • the stage of the production process during which this blast is used.

  4. Civil Engineering. boil1 (def. 12).

Verb Phrases
  1. blow away, Slang.

    • to kill, especially by gunfire: The gang threatened to blow away anyone who talked to the police.

    • to defeat decisively; trounce: She blew her opponent away in three straight sets.

    • to overwhelm with emotion, astonishment, etc.: Good poetry just blows me away.

  2. blow down, Metallurgy. to suspend working of (a blast furnace) by smelting the existing charge with a diminishing blast.

  1. blow in,

    • Slang. to arrive at a place, especially unexpectedly: My uncle just blew in from Sacramento.

    • Metallurgy. to begin operations in (a blast furnace).

  2. blow off,

    • to allow steam to be released.

    • Informal. to reduce or release tension, as by loud talking.

    • Informal. to ignore, evade, or treat as unimportant: I mentioned his insulting remark, and he just blew the whole thing off.

    • Informal. to not go to or participate in: He blew off his first-period class three times that week.

    • Informal. to fail to meet (someone) as planned without alerting the person beforehand: I waited 20 minutes before I realized my sister had blown me off.

    • Informal. to end a romantic or other relationship with: He blew me off after our third date.

  3. blow out,

    • to become extinguished: The candles blew out at once.

    • to lose force or cease: The storm has blown itself out.

    • (of an oil or gas well) to lose oil or gas uncontrollably.

    • Metallurgy. to blow down and clean (a blast furnace) in order to shut down.

  4. blow over,

    • to pass away; subside: The storm blew over in five minutes.

    • to be forgotten: The scandal will eventually blow over.

  5. blow up,

    • to come into being: A storm suddenly blew up.

    • to explode: The ship blew up.

    • to cause to explode: to blow up a bridge.

    • to exaggerate; enlarge: He blew up his own role in his account of the project.

    • Informal. to lose one's temper: When he heard she had quit school, he blew up.

    • to fill with air; inflate: to blow up a tire.

    • Slang. to surge in interest or popularity, or suddenly achieve great success: She’s a big celebrity now—her YouTube channel is blowing up.

    • Slang. (of a story, image, etc.) to dominate (the media) or be spread rapidly or widely on (the internet or a website): The scandal has been blowing up the national news reports. His offensive comments blew up Twitter.

    • Slang. to repeatedly call or send a high volume of continuous text messages or emails to (a digital account): This girl was blowing up my phone with her annoying texts.

    • Slang. to have a surge in text messages, emails, phone calls, etc.: My inbox blew up right after I posted the photo. Her phone was blowing up with concerned calls from family and friends.

    • Photography. to make an enlarged reproduction of.

    • Mathematics. (of a function) to become infinite.

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 ]

  1. a yield or display of blossoms: the lilac's lavender blows.

  2. a display of anything bright or brilliant: a rich, full blow of color.

  1. state of blossoming; a flowering: a border of tulips in full blow.

verb (used with or without object),blew, blown, blow·ing.
  1. 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 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use blow in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for blow (1 of 3)


/ (bləʊ) /

verbblows, blowing, blew or blown
  1. (of a current of air, the wind, etc) to be or cause to be in motion

  2. (intr) to move or be carried by or as if by wind or air: a feather blew in through the window

  1. to expel (air, cigarette smoke, etc) through the mouth or nose

  2. to force or cause (air, dust, etc) to move (into, in, over, etc) by using an instrument or by expelling breath

  3. (intr) to breathe hard; pant

  4. (sometimes foll by up) to inflate with air or the breath

  5. (intr) (of wind, a storm, etc) to make a roaring or whistling sound

  6. to cause (a whistle, siren, etc) to sound by forcing air into it, as a signal, or (of a whistle, etc) to sound thus

  7. (tr) to force air from the lungs through (the nose) to clear out mucus or obstructing matter

  8. (often foll by up, down, in, etc) to explode, break, or disintegrate completely: the bridge blew down in the gale

  9. electronics to burn out (a fuse, valve, etc) because of excessive current or (of a fuse, valve, etc) to burn out

  10. blow a fuse slang to lose one's temper

  11. (intr) (of a whale) to spout water or air from the lungs

  12. (tr) to wind (a horse) by making it run excessively

  13. 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

  14. (intr) jazz slang to play in a jam session

  15. (intr) (of flies) to lay eggs (in)

  16. to shape (glass, ornaments, etc) by forcing air or gas through the material when molten

  17. (intr) mainly Scot, Australian and NZ to boast or brag

  18. (tr) slang

    • to spend (money) freely

    • US to treat or entertain

  19. (tr) slang to use (an opportunity) ineffectively

  20. slang to go suddenly away (from)

  21. (tr) slang to expose or betray (a person or thing meant to be kept secret)

  22. (tr) US slang to inhale (a drug)

  23. (intr) slang to masturbate

  24. past participle blowed informal another word for damn I'll be blowed; blow it!

  25. draughts another word for huff (def. 4)

  26. blow hot and cold to vacillate

  27. 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

  28. blow one's own trumpet to boast of one's own skills or good qualities

  29. blow someone's mind slang

    • (of a drug, esp LSD) to alter someone's mental state

    • esp US and Canadian to astound or surprise someone

  30. blow one's top, esp US and Canadian blow one's stack or blow one's lid informal to lose one's temper

  1. the act or an instance of blowing

  2. the sound produced by blowing

  1. a blast of air or wind

  2. metallurgy

    • a stage in the Bessemer process in which air is blasted upwards through molten pig iron

    • the quantity of metal treated in a Bessemer converter

  3. mining

    • a rush of air into a mine

    • the collapse of a mine roof

  4. jazz slang a jam session

Origin of 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) /

  1. a powerful or heavy stroke with the fist, a weapon, etc

  2. at one blow or at a blow by or with only one action; all at one time

  1. a sudden setback; unfortunate event: to come as a blow

  2. come to blows

    • to fight

    • to result in a fight

  3. an attacking action: a blow for freedom

  4. Australian and NZ a stroke of the shears in sheep-shearing

Origin of blow

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

British Dictionary definitions for blow (3 of 3)


/ (bləʊ) /

verbblows, blowing, blew or blown
  1. (intr) (of a plant or flower) to blossom or open out

  2. (tr) to produce (flowers)

  1. a mass of blossoms

  2. the state or period of blossoming (esp in the phrase in full blow)

Origin of 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


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.