from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- transitive v. To make holy by religious rite; sanctify.
- transitive v. To make the sign of the cross over so as to sanctify.
- transitive v. To invoke divine favor upon.
- transitive v. To honor as holy; glorify: Bless the Lord.
- transitive v. To confer well-being or prosperity on.
- transitive v. To endow, as with talent.
- idiom bless you Used to wish good health to a person who has just sneezed.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- v. To make something blessed, to confer blessing upon.
- v. (past tense only blessed) To turn (a reference) into an object.
- interj. Used as an expression of endearment, or (ironically) belittlement.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- transitive v. To make or pronounce holy; to consecrate.
- transitive v. To make happy, blithesome, or joyous; to confer prosperity or happiness upon; to grant divine favor to.
- transitive v. To express a wish or prayer for the happiness of; to invoke a blessing upon; -- applied to persons.
- transitive v. To invoke or confer beneficial attributes or qualities upon; to invoke or confer a blessing on, -- as on food.
- transitive v. To make the sign of the cross upon; to cross (one's self).
- transitive v. To guard; to keep; to protect.
- transitive v. To praise, or glorify; to extol for excellences.
- transitive v. To esteem or account happy; to felicitate.
- transitive v. To wave; to brandish.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- To consecrate or set apart to holy or sacred purposes; make or pronounce holy: formerly occasionally used of persons.
- To consecrate (a thing) by a religious rite, as with prayer and thanksgiving; consecrate or hallow by asking God's blessing on: as, to bless food.
- To sanctify (one's self) by making the sign of the cross, especially as a defense against evil influences or agencies: used reflexively.
- To defend; preserve; protect or guard from evil; reflexively, to guard one's self from; avoid; eschew.
- To invoke or pronounce a blessing upon (another or others); commend to God's favor or protection.
- To confer well-being upon; bestow happiness, prosperity, or good of any kind upon; make happy, prosperous, or fortunate; prosper with temporal or spiritual benefits: as, a nation blessed with peace and plenty.
- To favor (with); make happy or fortunate by some specified means: as, blessed with a good constitution; blessed with filial children.
- To praise or extol as holy or worthy of reverence, or
- as the giver of benefits; extol or glorify with thankful acknowledgment of benefits received.
- To esteem or account happy; congratulate; felicitate: used reflexively.
- [Often used in exclamations with various shades of meaning departing more or less widely from the literal sense: as, God bless me! bless you! bless the mark! etc.]
- To ejaculate “Bless me,” “God bless me,” or the like.
- To wound; hurt; beat; thump.
- [Appar. a deflection of sense Some fancy that it refers to “the old rite of blessing a field by directing the hands to all parts of it” (see bless).] To wave; brandish.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- v. give a benediction to
- v. render holy by means of religious rites
- v. make the sign of the cross over someone in order to call on God for protection; consecrate
- v. confer prosperity or happiness on
Middle English blessen, from Old English blētsian, to consecrate; see bhel-3 in Indo-European roots.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English blessen, from Old English blētsian, blēdsian ("to consecrate (with blood)"), from Proto-Germanic *blōþisōnan (“to sprinkle, mark or hallow with blood”), from *blōþan (“blood”), from Proto-Indo-European *bhlo-to- (“to gush, spurt”), from *bhol-, *bhlē-dh-, *bhlō(w)- (“to thrive, flourish, bloom”). Cognate with Old Icelandic bletza (Modern Icelandic blessa, "to bless"), Old English blēdan ("to bleed"). More at bleed. (Wiktionary)
An ellipsis for an expression such as bless your heart (Wiktionary)