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See also: blood-thirsty



From blood +‎ thirsty. Cognate with West Frisian bloeddorstich (bloodthirsty), Dutch bloeddorstig (bloodthirsty), German blutdürstig (bloodthirsty), Danish blodtørstig (bloodthirsty), Swedish blodtörstig (bloodthristy), Norwegian blodtørstig (bloodthirsty).



bloodthirsty (comparative bloodthirstier or more bloodthirsty, superlative bloodthirstiest or most bloodthirsty)

  1. Thirsty for blood: inexorably violent or eager for bloodshed; murderous.
    Synonyms: bloodlusty, homicidal, (archaic) murtherous, murderous
    Antonym: unbloodthirsty
    • 1682, Thomas Otway, Venice Preserv’d, or, A Plot Discover’d. A Tragedy. [], London: Printed for Jos[eph] Hindmarsh [], →OCLC, Act V, scene i, page 53:
      [I]t is, as I may so say, a sawcy Plot: and we all know, most Reverend Fathers, that what is sawce for a Goose is sawce for a Gander: Therefore, I say, as those bloud-thirsty Ganders of the conspiracy would have destroyed us Geese of the Senate, let us make haste to destroy them, so I humbly move for hanging— [...]
    • 1711 December 23 (Gregorian calendar), Joseph Addison; Richard Steele [et al.], “WEDNESDAY, December 12, 1711”, in The Spectator, number 246; republished in Alexander Chalmers, editor, The Spectator; a New Edition, [], volume III, New York, N.Y.: D[aniel] Appleton & Company, 1853, →OCLC, page 229:
      [] Diodorus also relates of Caligula, predecessor to Nero, that his nurse used to moisten the nipples of her breast frequently with blood to make Caligula take the better hold of them; which, says Diodorus, was the cause that made him so blood-thirsty and cruel all his life-time after, that he not only committed frequent murder by his own hand, but likewise wished that all human kind wore but one neck that he might have the pleasure to cut it off.
    • 1843 December 19, Charles Dickens, “Stave I. Marley’s Ghost.”, in A Christmas Carol. In Prose. Being a Ghost Story of Christmas, London: Chapman & Hall, [], →OCLC, page 16:
      The Lord Mayor, in the stronghold of the mighty Mansion House, gave orders to his fifty cooks and butlers to keep Christmas as a Lord Mayor's household should; and even the little tailor, whom he had fined five shillings on the previous Monday for being drunk and blood-thirsty in the streets, stirred up to-morrow's pudding in his garret, while his lean wife and the baby sallied out to buy the beef.
    • 1870 March 12, “Bloodhounds”, in Oliver Optic [pseudonym; William Taylor Adams], editor, Our Boys and Girls: Oliver Optic’s Magazine, volume VII, number 167, Boston, Mass.: Lee and Shepard, publishers; [], →OCLC, page 169, column 2:
      The genuine "bloodhound" is not, naturally, the cruel, bloodthirsty animal he is generally supposed to be; nor is he the only dog that will hunt men. Like all pure hounds, he is mild, loving, and kind, and will hunt any game for which he is trained; []
    • 2017 October 27, Alex McLevy, “Making a Killing: The Brief Life and Bloody Death of the Post-Scream Slasher Revival”, in The A.V. Club[1], archived from the original on 5 March 2018:
      The slasher narrative is as simple as a knife in the head: Some tragic event creates a killer who then seeks bloodthirsty revenge for that primal trauma, and audiences hoot and cringe in equal measure as characters lose their lives one by one, often in unexpected or inventive ways, until a resourceful “Final Girl” manages to defeat the monster.
  2. Of a book, film, etc.: depicting much violence; gory, violent.
    • 1907 August 2, Oliver Lodge, “The Religious Education of Children”, in George Harvey, editor, North American Review, volume CLXXXVI, number DCXX, New York, N.Y.: The North American Review Publishing Co., →OCLC, section III, page 707:
      [T]here has been recently a tendency on the part of some Education Authorities to select these manifestly worthy portions exclusively, and to avoid reading the more archaic and, so to speak, bloodthirsty books, such as Judges, Kings, and Genesis, altogether.
  3. (humorous) Of a mosquito, tenaciously seeking to draw blood.
    • 1886 October – 1887 January, H[enry] Rider Haggard, She: A History of Adventure, London: Longmans, Green, and Co., published 1887, →OCLC:
      For, whether they were attracted by the lantern, or by the unaccustomed smell of a white man for which they had been waiting for the last thousand years or so, I know not; but certainly we were presently attacked by tens of thousands of the most blood-thirsty, pertinacious, and huge mosquitoes that I ever saw or read of.

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Terms derived from bloodthirsty