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From Middle English blee, ble ‎(colour, hue), from Old English blēo, bleoh ‎(colour, hue, complexion, form), from Proto-Germanic *blīwą ‎(colour, blee", also "light, glad), from Proto-Indo-European *bʰley-, *bʰlew- ‎(light, pleasant, fair (of weather)). Cognate with Scots ble, blee, blie ‎(colour, complexion), Old Frisian blī, blie ("colour, hue, complexion"; > North Frisian bläy), Old Saxon blī ‎(colour, hue, complexion), Old High German blīo(h) ‎(colour, hue), blīo ‎(metallic lead) (German Blei), Danish bly ‎(lead), Icelandic blý ‎(lead). Perhaps related to Old English blīþe ("joyous") (whence blithe). See also bly.



blee ‎(countable and uncountable, plural blees)

  1. (rare, usually poetic) Colour, hue.
    • 1931, Padraic Colum, "Before The Fair" in Lascelles Abercrombie, New English poems: a miscellany of contemporary verse never before published:
      [...] "Live," "live," and "Here," "here," the blackbird / From the top of the bare ash-tree,/ Over the acres whistles / With beak of yellow blee. [...]
    • 1920, Anonymous, "To Marie" in Carolyn Wells, The Book of Humorous Verse:
      When the breeze from the bluebottle's blustering blim/Twirls the toads in a tooroomaloo,/And the whiskery whine of the wheedlesome whim/Drowns the roll of the rattatattoo,/Then I dream in the shade of the shally-go-shee,/And the voice of the bally-molay/Brings the smell of stale poppy-cods blummered in blee/From the willy-wad over the way. [...]
    • 1885, Sir Richard Burton, The Book of the Thousand Nights and One Night, vol. 1:
      [...] Thereupon sat a lady bright of blee, with brow beaming brilliancy [...]
    • 1850, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, The poems of Elizabeth Barrett Browning:
      Then the captain, young Lord Leigh, with his eyes so grey of blee, — Toll slowly.
  2. Complexion.
  3. Form, texture, consistency.
    • 1898, Algernon Charles Swinburne, The Heptalogia:
      [...] I am thrilled half cosmically through by cryptophantic surgings / Till the rhythmic hills roar silent through a spongious kind of blee [...]
  4. General resemblance, likeness; aspect, appearance, look.
    • Robert Forby
      That boy has a strong blee of his father.


Related terms[edit]