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  • (file)
  • IPA(key): /blʌʃ/
  • Rhymes: -ʌʃ

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English blusshen, bluschen, blusschen, blisshen, from Old English blysċan (to be red; shine), perhaps from Proto-Germanic *blaskijaną, from *blasǭ (burning candle; torch) or alternatively from Proto-Germanic *bluskijaną, from *blusjǭ (torch). Cognate with Middle Low German blöschen (to blush). Compare also Old English blysian (to burn; blaze), Dutch blozen (to blush), Danish blusse (to blush), Old Norse blys (torch), Danish blus (blaze).


blush (plural blushes)

  1. An act of blushing; a red glow on the face caused by shame, modesty, etc.
    • c. 1590, William Shakespeare, Henry VI, Part 3, Act III, Scene 3,[1]
      Why, Warwick, canst thou speak against thy liege,
      Whom thou obeyed’st thirty and six years,
      And not bewray thy treason with a blush?
    • 1749, Henry Fielding, The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling, Book 9, Chapter 7,[2]
      [] when he perceived her industriously avoiding any explanation, he was contented to remain in ignorance, the rather as he was not without suspicion that there were some circumstances which must have raised her blushes, had she related the whole truth.
    • 1813, Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice, Volume III, Chapter I,[3]
      Their eyes instantly met, and the cheeks of each were overspread with the deepest blush.
    • 1925, Virginia Woolf, Mrs Dalloway,[4]
      It was a sudden revelation, a tinge like a blush which one tried to check and then, as it spread, one yielded to its expansion []
  2. A glow; a flush of colour, especially pink or red.
    • 1809, Washington Irving, Knickerbocker’s History of New York, Chapter 4,[5]
      And now the rosy blush of morn began to mantle in the east, and soon the rising sun, emerging from amidst golden and purple clouds, shed his blithesome rays on the tin weathercocks of Communipaw.
    • 1968, “Light on Light,” Time, 10 August, 1968,[6]
      Each painting consists of a white aluminum disk, sprayed at the edges with a subtle blush of blue, pink or grey.
  3. (figuratively) Feeling or appearance of optimism.
    • 1974, “April's Fading Carnation,” Time, 9 September, 1974,[7]Superscript text
      The independence ceremony could not keep the blush of April's revolution, when carnations had seemed to sprout from every buttonhole, from fading.
    • 2016, David McKay, “AngloGold to fire up dividend in 2017 as net debt cut a third,”, 15 August, 2016,[8]
      The weakening of local currencies – in Argentina, Australia and Brazil – gave a blush to the financial numbers. (As a whole, all-in sustaining costs (AISC) improved to an average of $911/oz compared with the $924/oz recorded in the first half of 2015).
  4. (uncountable, countable) A sort of makeup, frequently a powder, used to redden the cheeks.
    • 2016, Sana Passricha, “Keep or Toss: The Shelflife of Your Beauty Treasures,” iDIVA, 22 July, 2016,[9]
      The same rules that apply to face powder apply to powder blush, since neither contains water. Cream blush, however, should be replaced after a year. To prolong the life of any blush, clean your blush brush regularly and store the product in a dry place.
  5. A color between pink and cream.
    blush colour:  
    • 2006, Kate Betts, “What to Watch For in 2006,” Time, 9 January, 2006,[10]
      Makeup colors like ivory and blush dominate spring collections and have even infiltrated Burberry's shoes.
  6. (chiefly US) A pale pink wine made by removing the dark grape skins at the required point during fermentation.
    • 2016, Mishkah Abrahams, “Blush or Rosé? The Cape's Best Summer Drink,”, 29 September, 2016,[11]
      If you’re looking to indulge in some good food while you sip your blush, pair the Chardonnay-Pinot Noir with fresh, summer foods such as sushi, refreshing salads, delicious seafood and fruity summertime desserts.
Derived terms[edit]


blush (third-person singular simple present blushes, present participle blushing, simple past and past participle blushed)

  1. (intransitive) To glance
  2. (intransitive) To become red in the face due to shyness, shame, excitement, or embarrassment.
    He wasn't used to this much attention, so he blushed as he saw dozens of pairs of eyes watching him.
    • Milton
      To the nuptial bower / I led her blushing like the morn.
    • 1912, Stratemeyer Syndicate, Baseball Joe on the School Nine Chapter 1
      But Tommy was bashful, and the attention he had thus drawn upon himself made him blush. He was a timid lad and he shrank away now, evidently fearing Shell.
  3. (intransitive) To become red.
    • Shakespeare
      The sun of heaven, methought, was loth to set, / But stayed, and made the western welkin blush.
  4. (transitive) To suffuse with a blush; to redden; to make roseate.
    • Shakespeare
      To blush and beautify the cheek again.
  5. (transitive) To change skin color in the face (to a particular shade).
    When he saw it, he blushed a beet red.
    I wasn't surprised, but it was embarrassing enough that I blushed a little pink.
  6. (transitive) To express or make known by blushing.
    Looking at me with a knowing glare, she blushed her discomfort with the situation.
    • Shakespeare
      I'll blush you thanks.
  7. (intransitive) To have a warm and delicate colour, like some roses and other flowers.
    The garden was full of blossoms that blushed in myriad shades to form a beautiful carpet of color.
    • T. Gray
      Full many a flower is born to blush unseen.

Related terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

1486 Dame Julia Barnes. The Book of St Albans.


blush (plural blushes)

  1. The collective noun for a group of boys.
    A blush of boys.
Usage notes[edit]

This is probably a fanciful expression and is not in common use.

  • Noun sense: 1986 Oxford Reference Dictionary: Appendix




Borrowed from English blush.



blush m (uncountable)

  1. blush (makeup used to redden the cheeks)