Coined in 1867. Compound of blood + bath, the latter used referring to a metaphorical deluge. Compare West Frisian bloedbad (“bloodbath”), Dutch bloedbad (“bloodbath”), German Blutbad (“bloodbath”), Danish blodbad (“bloodbath”), Swedish blodbad (“bloodbath”), Icelandic blóðbad (“bloodbath”).
bloodbath (plural bloodbaths)
- Indiscriminate killing or slaughter, a massacre.
- 1814, Robert Jamieson, “Stark Tiderich and Olger Danske”, in Illustrations of northern antiquities, from the earlier Tentonie and Scandinavian romances: being an abstract of the Book of heroes, and Nibelungen lay; with translation of metrical tales, from the Old German, Danish, Swedish, and Icelandie languages; with notes and dissertations, Edinburgh: James Ballantyne and Co., translation of Kæmpe Viser, Popular Heroic and Romantic Ballads, translated from the Northern Languages, with Notes and Illustrations, page 272:
- There lay the steed; here lay the man; Gude friends that day did twin: They leuch na a' to the feast that cam Whan the het bluid-bath was done.
- 22 March 2012, Scott Tobias, AV Club The Hunger Games
- In movie terms, it suggests Paul Verhoeven in Robocop/Starship Troopers mode, an R-rated bloodbath where the grim spectacle of children murdering each other on television is bread-and-circuses for the age of reality TV, enforced by a totalitarian regime to keep the masses at bay.
- (sports) An aggressive or very violent contest or confrontation.
- 1951, Tim Cohane, “Be Each, Pray God, a Gentlemen!”, in The Yale Football Story, New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, page 93:
- Although the Hampden Park blood bath of '94 caused Yale and Harvard to break off football relations for the next two years, they kept close watch on each other.
- (figuratively) An upset (as of a game with unexpected results, or a national presidential convention) or heavy defeat.
- (figuratively, business) A large financial loss or massive layoff brought about by negative economic conditions.
- 1989, “Richard Daley Wins Chicago Mayoral Race; Blacks Fail to Unite Behind Tim Evans”, in Robert E. Johnson, editor, Jet Magazine, volume 76, Chicago: Johnson Publishing Company, National Report, page 9:
- In an interview after the victory, Daley sought to assure Blacks that there would be no personnel bloodbath at City Hall.
- A bath taken in warm blood used as a restorative or medical treatment.
- 1834, “On Blood-Baths: An Historical Notice.”, in The London Medical Gazette; Being a Weekly Journal of Medicine and the Collateral Sciences, volume 13, London: Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown, Green, & Longman, page 813:
- On Blood-Baths: An Historical Notice. By Dr. Hecker. According to a dark tradition which is incidentally mentioned by Pliny, the ancient kings of Egypt used to bathe in human blood when they were seized with leprosy.