bad blood

Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search



From Charles Lamb's Essays of Elia (1823).


  • (file)


bad blood (uncountable)

  1. (idiomatic) Feelings of hostility or ill will.
    • 1843, James Fenimore Cooper, chapter 3, in Wyandotte:
      The government at home, and the people of the colonies, are getting to have bad blood between them.
    • 1896, Mark Twain, chapter 3, in Tom Sawyer, Detective:
      [T]here was bad blood between us from a couple of weeks back, and we was only friends in the way of business.
    • 1922 February, James Joyce, “[[Episode 16]]”, in Ulysses, London: The Egoist Press, published October 1922, OCLC 2297483:
      All those wretched quarrels, in his humble opinion, stirring up bad blood, from some bump of combativeness or gland of some kind, erroneously supposed to be about a punctilio of honour and a flag, []
  2. (idiomatic) A serious feud or long-standing grudge.
    • 1869, R. D. Blackmore, chapter 71, in Lorna Doone: A Romance of Exmoor:
      Now for these and other things (whereof I could tell a thousand) was the reckoning come that night; and not a line we missed of it; soon as our bad blood was up. I like not to tell of slaughter, though it might be of wolves and tigers; and that was a night of fire and slaughter, and of very long-harboured revenge. Enough that ere the daylight broke upon that wan March morning, the only Doones still left alive were the Counsellor and Carver.
  3. (idiomatic, dated) An inherited immoral or disturbed nature.
    • 1882, George MacDonald, chapter 4, in Weighed and Wanting:
      [I]f we dare not search ourselves close enough to discover the low breeding, the bad blood in us, it will one day come out plain as the smitten brand of the forcat.
    • 1902, Annie Fellows Johnston, chapter 5, in Flip's ‘Islands of Providence’:
      "Humph! Thought there was bad blood somewhere!" he exclaimed. . . .
      "No!" was the determined answer. . . . Because his father was dishonest is no proof that he is a thief."
    • 1921, Gertrude Franklin Horn Atherton, chapter 6, in The Sisters-In-Law:
      She has bad blood in her. Her mother . . . went to pieces, poor dear, and Judge Lawton wisely sent her East.