From true (adjective) + blue (“steadfastly faithful or loyal”, adjective). The symbolism of the colour blue as representing constancy, faithfulness, loyalty, and truth may derive from the constant colour of the sky, or the tendency of certain blue dyes to resist fading.
Adjective senses 1.1.2 (“of or pertaining to the Tory, and now the Conservative, political party”) and 1.1.3 (“of or pertaining to the Scottish Presbyterian or Whig political party in the 17th century”) probably both allude to sense 1 (“steadfastly faithful or loyal”). Sense 1.1.2 may also allude to sense 1.1.3 which is older, and sense 1.1.3 may partly allude to the blue colour of the flag of Scotland.
- (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ˌtruː ˈbluː/
- (General American) IPA(key): /ˈtru ˈblu/
Audio (AU) (file)
- Rhymes: -uː
- Steadfastly faithful or loyal; unwavering in loyalty; staunch, true.
- He was a true blue supporter, and would not listen to what he supposed to be the lies of the opposition.
- 2010, Garrett Peck, “BLUE LAWS”, in Rachel Black, editor, Alcohol in Popular Culture: An Encyclopedia, Santa Barbara, Calif.: Greenwood, →ISBN, page 34:
- The origin of the term "blue law" is somewhat murky. It may have referred to the laws printed on blue paper for the New Haven colony in 1665. Or it may refer to "true blue" principles of Puritans—that is, unyielding and dogmatic.
- (UK) Of or pertaining to the (historical) Tory, and now the Conservative, political party; hence, steadfastly conservative.
- 1847 January – 1848 July, William Makepeace Thackeray, “In which a Charade is Acted which May or May Not Puzzle the Reader”, in Vanity Fair […], London: Bradbury and Evans […], published 1848, →OCLC, page 455:
- […] Mr. Wenham himself was a staunch old True Blue Tory, and his father a small coal-merchant in the north of England […]
- 1860 January – 1861 April, Anthony Trollope, “The Framley Set, and the Chaldicotes Set”, in Framley Parsonage. […] (Collection of British Authors; 551), copyright edition, volume I, Leipzig: Bernhard Tauchnitz, published April 1861, →OCLC, pages 17–18:
- Not that he is a violent Whig, or perhaps that he is a Whig at all. But he jeers and sneers at the old county doings; […] All this is deeply regretted, for, in the old days, there was no portion of the county more decidedly true blue than that Framley district; […]
- (Scotland, historical) Of or pertaining to the Scottish Presbyterian or Whig political party in the 17th century; hence, steadfastly Presbyterian.
- 1662, [Samuel Butler], “[The First Part of Hudibras]”, in Hudibras. The First and Second Parts. […], London: […] John Martyn and Henry Herringman, […], published 1678; republished in A[lfred] R[ayney] Waller, editor, Hudibras: Written in the Time of the Late Wars, Cambridge: University Press, 1905, →OCLC, canto I, page 8:
- For his Religion it was fit / To match his Learning and his Wit: / 'Twas Presbyterian true blew, / For he was of that stubbon Crew / Of Errant Saints, whom all men grant / To be the true Church Militant: […]
- 1818 July 25, Jedadiah Cleishbotham [pseudonym; Walter Scott], chapter VII, in Tales of My Landlord, Second Series, […] (The Heart of Mid-Lothian), volume I, Edinburgh: […] [James Ballantyne and Co.] for Archibald Constable and Company, →OCLC, page 190:
- This was a tough true-blue presbyterian, called Deans, who, though most obnoxious to the Laird on account of principles in church and state, contrived to maintain his ground upon the estate […]
- Representing the true essence of something; authentic, genuine, honest.
- 1985 May 27, Steven Burke, “Retailing: Dealers Install Non-IBM Parts”, in J. Michael Lowe, editor, InfoWorld, volume 7, number 21, San Mateo, Calif.: Popular Computing, →ISSN, →OCLC, page 20, column 1:
- Some upscale, service-oriented dealers say competitors are installing the third-party disk drives in PC XTs and passing them off as true blue PC XTs.
- 2004, Paul Delany, “In Pursuit of the English”, in Bill Brandt: A Life, Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, →ISBN, page 99:
- (UK) Aristocratic by birth.
- Used other than figuratively or idiomatically: see true, blue.
- 1996, R[ichard] D. Bartlett, Patricia P[ope] Bartlet, “Arboreal Favorites: Family Hylidae”, in Frogs, Toads, and Treefrogs: Everything about Selection, Care, Nutrition, Breeding, and Behavior, Hauppauge, N.Y.: Barron’s Educational Series, →ISBN, page 78, column 2:
- Second, some living caerulea are blue: A few display attractive shades of blue green or, more rarely, true blue.
- (countable) A faithful partisan or supporter of a cause, person, political party, etc.
- 1939, Flora Thompson, “At the ‘Wagon and Horses’”, in Lark Rise to Candleford: A Trilogy, London: Penguin Books, published 1973, →ISBN, pages 65–66:
- A mild Liberalism prevailed, a Liberalism that would be regarded as hide-bound Toryism now, but was daring enough in those days. One man who had been to work in Northampton proclaimed himself a Radical; but he was cancelled out by the landlord, who called himself a ‘true blue’.
- (uncountable, historical) A blue dye from Coventry, England, famous for not washing out.
- (color models and color spaces) A precisely defined pure blue, as for example web color #0000FF = RGB(0,0,255).
- ^ “true blue, adj. and n.”, in OED Online , Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, March 2022.
- “blue, adj. and n.”, in OED Online , Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, September 2022.
- ^ “true blue”, in Dictionary.com Unabridged, Dictionary.com, LLC, 1995–present, reproduced from Christine Ammer, The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms, Boston, Mass.: Houghton Mifflin, 2003, →ISBN.