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For the sense as an ethnic slur, unknown. Several theories have been proposed, the merits of which are unclear, all of which refer to some feature of Indonesian people appearing blue to the eye. In one theory, it is a supposed blue colour of their gums, while another refers to a blue sheen reportedly seen on the pitch-black hair of some Indonesians. Finally, yet another theory relates this to the so-called slate-grey nevus prevalent among new-born Austronesians. In earlier uses the term was more broadly used for people of colour, so its derivation may not be related to Indonesians at all. Cf. also blauwe hap.


  • IPA(key): /ˈblɑu̯ə/
  • (file)
  • Hyphenation: blau‧we



  1. Inflected form of blauw


blauwe m or f (plural blauwen)

  1. (vulgar, very offensive, ethnic slur) Indo (person of part Indonesian, part European descent)
    • 1875, A. Weruméus Buning, "De zeevader van Jan Matters. Maritieme karakterschets", Eigen haard, No. 29, page 243.
      't Was op een eiland in de Oost, waar wij oorlog voerden tegen een prins (een zwarte of een blauwe 1 zooals wij ze noemen), die niet wou zooals de resident van het eiland wou.
      (please add an English translation of this quote)
  2. (obsolete, ethnic slur, chiefly nautical) Any non-white person.
    • Nicolaas Beets, Camera obscura.
      (zoodat ik met grond onderstel dat hij er nu de harten der liplappen en blauwen in de West meê verkwikt)
      (please add an English translation of this quote)