blue ruin

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blue ruin (uncountable)

  1. (slang, now archaic) Low-end gin, usually home-made.
    • 1985, Tom Waits, "9th and Hennepin"
      ‘Till you're full of rag water and bitters and blue ruin
    • 1835, Edgar Allan Poe, ‘King Pest’:
      ‘tell us who the devil ye all are, and what business ye have here, rigged off like the foul fiends, and swilling the snug blue ruin stowed away for the winter by my honest shipmate, Will Wimble the undertaker!’
    • 1841, Thomas Noel, Rymes and roundelayes‎, p. 197:
      SIR DEATH is a grim old fellow ; Yet rather facetious at times, When "blue ruin" makes him mellow, And he chants his Stygian rhymes.
    • 1873, J. Fogerty, Lauterdale, p. 17:
      "Blue-ruin!" exclaimed Josiah, in amazement. "It's another name for cold gin," replied Constable Giblet...
    • 1996, A. J. Liebling et. al., A Neutral Corner: Boxing Essays‎, p. 35:
      The fighters joined their admirers in lushing Blue Ruin, which was just another name for Daffy, or gin, and Heavy Wet, which was ale.
    • 2005, Edith Layton, Gypsy Lover‎, p. 133:
      Jug bitten was all you were. You had enough blue ruin to make any man stagger.
  2. Complete and utter ruin, desolation.
    • 1934, Philip Gibbs, European journey‎, p. 116:
      "It's blue ruin." He laughed for the third time. I notice that people always laugh when they prophesy blue ruin.
    • 1921, Elbert E. Stevens, Labor digest‎, p. 21:
      For a nation to wait in a market of heavily reduced prices for the still lower prices of blue ruin, even if it could wait, would be economic suicide...
    • 1908, House of Commons of Canada, Debates: Official Report‎, p. 398:
      But, Sir, hon. members of the government, led by that old knight of blue ruin, have done something infinitely worse than cry blue ruin.
    • 1899, Senate of Canada, Debates of the Senate of the Dominion of Canada, p. 1161:
      I was amused at the hon. Minister of Justice telling the hon. leader of the opposition that he was preaching blue ruin now. A few years ago the hon. minister himself was preaching blue ruin. The people of this country should understand that when one party is in power it is all lovely with them, and the other party is preaching blue ruin. I know that the gentlemen forming the ministry, and their supporters, always preached blue ruin until they got into power...

Usage notes[edit]

Although "blue ruin" began as a generic nickname, several brands later adopted the name in different times and places.