or blue·ing


noun Chemistry.

a substance, as indigo, used to whiten clothes or give them a bluish tinge.

Nearby words

  1. bluey,
  2. bluff,
  3. bluffing,
  4. bluffly,
  5. bluffs,
  6. bluish,
  7. blum,
  8. blum, léon,
  9. blumberg,
  10. blumberg's sign

Origin of bluing

First recorded in 1660–70; blue + -ing1




the pure color of a clear sky; the primary color between green and violet in the visible spectrum, an effect of light with a wavelength between 450 and 500 nm.
something having a blue color: Place the blue next to the red.
a person who wears blue or is a member of a group characterized by some blue symbol: Tomorrow the blues will play the browns.
(often initial capital letter) a member of the Union army in the American Civil War or the army itself.Compare gray1(def 13).
any of several blue-winged butterflies of the family Lycaenidae.
Printing. blueline.
the blue,
  1. the sky.
  2. the sea.
  3. the remote distance: They've vanished into the blue somewhere.

adjective, blu·er, blu·est.

of the color of blue: a blue tie.
(initial capital letter) of or relating to the Union army in the American Civil War.
(of the skin) discolored by cold, contusion, fear, or vascular collapse.
depressed in spirits; dejected; melancholy: She felt blue about not being chosen for the team.
holding or offering little hope; dismal; bleak: a blue outlook.
characterized by or stemming from rigid morals or religion: statutes that were blue and unrealistic.
marked by blasphemy: The air was blue with oaths.
(of an animal's pelage) grayish-blue.
indecent; somewhat obscene; risqué: a blue joke or film.

verb (used with object), blued, blu·ing or blue·ing.

to make blue; dye a blue color.
to tinge with bluing: Don't blue your clothes till the second rinse.

verb (used without object), blued, blu·ing or blue·ing.

to become or turn blue.

Origin of blue

1250–1300; Middle English blewe < Anglo-French blew, bl(i)u, bl(i)ef blue, livid, discolored, Old French blo, blau (French bleu) < Germanic *blǣwaz; compare Old English blǣwen, contraction of blǣhǣwen deep blue, perse (see blae, hue1), Old Frisian blāw, Middle Dutch blā(u), Old High German blāo (German blau), Old Norse blār

14. happy.

Related formsblue·ly, adverbblue·ness, nounhalf-blue, adjectiveun·blued, adjective

Can be confusedblew blue Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for bluing

British Dictionary definitions for bluing



any of a group of colours, such as that of a clear unclouded sky, that have wavelengths in the range 490–445 nanometres. Blue is the complementary colour of yellow and with red and green forms a set of primary coloursRelated adjective: cyanic
a dye or pigment of any of these colours
blue cloth or clothingdressed in blue
  1. a sportsperson who represents or has represented Oxford or Cambridge University and has the right to wear the university colour (dark blue for Oxford, light blue for Cambridge)an Oxford blue
  2. the honour of so representing one's university
British an informal name for Tory
any of numerous small blue-winged butterflies of the genera Lampides, Polyommatus, etc: family Lycaenidae
archaic short for bluestocking
slang a policeman
archery a blue ring on a target, between the red and the black, scoring five points
a blue ball in snooker, etc
another name for blueing
Australian and NZ slang an argument or fighthe had a blue with a taxi driver
Also: bluey Australian and NZ slang a court summons, esp for a traffic offence
Australian and NZ informal a mistake; error
out of the blue apparently from nowhere; unexpectedlythe opportunity came out of the blue
into the blue into the unknown or the far distance

adjective bluer or bluest

of the colour blue
(of the flesh) having a purple tinge, as from cold or contusion
depressed, moody, or unhappy
dismal or depressinga blue day
indecent, titillating, or pornographicblue films
bluish in colour or having parts or marks that are bluisha blue fox; a blue whale
rare aristocratic; noble; patriciana blue family See blue blood
US relating to, supporting, or representing the Democratic PartyCompare red 1 (def. 18)

verb blues, blueing, bluing or blued

to make, dye, or become blue
(tr) to treat (laundry) with blueing
(tr) slang to spend extravagantly or wastefully; squander
See also blues

Derived Formsbluely, adverbblueness, noun

Word Origin for blue

C13: from Old French bleu, of Germanic origin; compare Old Norse blār, Old High German blāo, Middle Dutch blā; related to Latin flāvus yellow




Australian informal a nickname for a person with red hair
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 bluing
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with bluing


In addition to the idioms beginning with blue

  • blue funk, in a
  • blue in the face

also see:

  • between a rock and a hard place (devil and deep blue sea)
  • black and blue
  • bolt from the blue
  • have the blues
  • into thin air (the blue)
  • like greased lightning (a blue streak)
  • once in a blue moon
  • out of a clear blue sky
  • talk one's arm off (a blue streak
  • until blue in the face)
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.