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verb (used without object)
  1. to redden, as from embarrassment or shame: He blushed when they called him a conquering hero.
  2. to feel shame or embarrassment (often followed by at or for): Your behavior makes me blush for your poor mother.
  3. (of the sky, flowers, etc.) to become rosy.
  4. (of new house paint or lacquer) to become cloudy or dull through moisture or excessive evaporation of solvents.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to make red; flush.
  2. to make known by a blush: She could not help blushing the truth.
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  1. a reddening, as of the face.
  2. rosy or pinkish tinge.
  3. blusher(def 2).
  4. Also called blush wine, rosé.
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  1. at first blush, without previous knowledge or adequate consideration; at first glance: At first blush, the solution to the problem seemed simple enough.
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Origin of blush

1275–1325; (v.) Middle English bluschen, Old English blyscan to redden; akin to Old English blysa, Old Norse blys, Middle Low German blus torch, bloschen to blaze; (noun) Middle English blusch, blisch, derivative of the v.
Related formsblush·ful, adjectiveblush·ful·ly, adverbblush·ful·ness, nounblush·ing·ly, adverbblush·less, adjectiveout·blush, verb (used with object)


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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

embarrassed, flushed, humiliated, ashamed, bashful, red-faced

Examples from the Web for blushing

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • "He asked me if I liked white kids," answered the blushing peasant.


    Lydia Maria Child

  • Above, below, the rose of snow, Twined with her blushing foe we spread.

    The Armourer's Prentices

    Charlotte M. Yonge

  • People giggled, and she snatched her hand away, blushing furiously.

  • "You'll have to call me Letty," said the pretty old lady, smiling and blushing.

  • Were you ever detected in the crime of blushing, in your life, Mrs. O'Connor?

British Dictionary definitions for blushing


  1. (intr) to become suddenly red in the face from embarrassment, shame, modesty, or guilt; redden
  2. to make or become reddish or rosy
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  1. a sudden reddening of the face from embarrassment, shame, modesty, or guilt
  2. a rosy glowthe blush of a peach
  3. a reddish or pinkish tinge
  4. a cloudy area on the surface of freshly applied gloss paint
  5. at first blush when first seen; as a first impression
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Derived Formsblushful, adjectiveblushing, noun, adjectiveblushingly, adverb

Word Origin

Old English blӯscan; related to blӯsian to burn, Middle Low German blüsen to light a fire
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 blushing



mid-14c., bluschen, blischen, probably from Old English blyscan "blush, become red, glow" (glossing Latin rutilare), akin to blyse "torch," from Proto-Germanic *blisk- "to shine, burn," which also yielded words in Low German (e.g. Dutch blozen "to blush") and Scandinavian (e.g. Danish blusse "to blaze; to blush"); ultimately from PIE *bhel- (1) "to shine, flash, burn" (see bleach (v.)).

For vowel evolution, see bury. Earliest recorded senses were "to shine brightly; to look, stare." Sense of "turn red in the face" (with shame, modesty, etc.) is from c.1400. Related: Blushed; blushing.

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mid-14c., "a look, a glance" (sense preserved in at first blush), also "a gleam, a gleaming" (late 14c.), from blush (v.). As "a reddening of the face" from 1590s. Meaning "a rosy color" is 1590s.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

blushing in Medicine


  1. A sudden and brief redness of the face and neck due to emotion; flush.
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Related formsblush v.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Idioms and Phrases with blushing


see at first blush.

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