From Middle English blessen, from Old English bletsian (“to consecrate (with blood)”), from Proto-West Germanic *blōdisōn (“to sprinkle, mark or hallow with blood”), from Proto-Germanic *blōþą (“blood”), of uncertain origin, possibly from Proto-Indo-European *bʰleh₃- (“to bloom”). Cognate with Old Norse bleza (“to bless”) (whence Icelandic blessa), Old English blēdan (“to bleed”). More at bleed.
- To make something holy by religious rite, sanctify.
- To make the sign of the cross upon, so as to sanctify.
- 1577, Raphaell Holinshed, The Firste Volume of the Chronicles of England, Scotlande, and Irelande […], volume I, London: […] [Henry Bynneman] for Iohn Harrison, →OCLC:
- the archbishop vsing certeine praiers, blessed the king
- To invoke divine favor upon.
- To honor as holy, glorify; to extol for excellence.
- To esteem or account happy; to felicitate.
- (obsolete) To wave; to brandish.
- 1600, [Torquato Tasso], “(please specify |book=1 to 20)”, in Edward Fairefax [i.e., Edward Fairfax], transl., Godfrey of Bulloigne, or The Recouerie of Ierusalem. […], London: […] Ar[nold] Hatfield, for I[saac] Iaggard and M[atthew] Lownes, →OCLC:
- Round his armed head his trenchant blade he blest.
- (Perl programming, transitive, past tense only blessed) To turn (a reference) into an object.
- (archaic, with from) To secure, defend, or prevent from.
An ellipsis for an expression such as bless your heart.
- (UK, Canada, informal) Used as an expression of endearment, gratitude, or (ironically) belittlement.
- 1998, Peter Coffey, “New Alternative View Of Atomic Structure”, in sci.chem (Usenet):
- Ah bless! You must be the welcoming committee for anyone who dares express ignorance.
- 2000, Hellraiser, uk.people.teens (Usenet):
- oh bless. *hug* that is not true. nobody here bears a grudge against 13 year old dear or against you.
- 2001, Will, “Am I still here?”, in uk.religion.pagan (Usenet):
- Aw bless... have white chocolate fudge muffin....a new batch.... made them last night after Nigella....
bless (simple past blessed)
- to bless
- 1867, “A YOLA ZONG”, in SONGS, ETC. IN THE DIALECT OF FORTH AND BARGY, number 14:
- Zo bless all oore frends, an God zpeed ee plowe.
- So bless all our friends, and God speed the plough.
- Jacob Poole (1867), William Barnes, editor, A Glossary, With some Pieces of Verse, of the old Dialect of the English Colony in the Baronies of Forth and Bargy, County of Wexford, Ireland, London: J. Russell Smith, page 90