Definitions

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Same as blue-stocking, 1.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun Somewhat derisive A bluestocking; a literary woman.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun derogatory, dated A bluestocking; a literary woman.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a woman having literary or intellectual interests

Etymologies

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

French, from bas stocking + bleu blue.

Examples

Comments

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  • In the past we coded women by hue,
    So color served as a character cue:
    If she was a harlot
    We painted her scarlet;
    The high-minded we labeled basbleu.

    It is hard to accept bluestocking as a term free of disapprobation, even though its origins seem harmless enough. There is something about “blue” as an emotive adjective that suggests shadows and chills.

    Red is warm like blood arterial,
    Blue, like the sky, cold and ethereal.
    The sap of the vein
    Marks with its stain
    The basbleus, worn and immaterial.

    It was not long ago (Feb. 4, 2014) that we had “bluenose” as the Word of the Day. While bluenose has a variety of meanings its use to characterize conduct always compels me to pause briefly to sort out whether the person cited is a busybody or a literary aspirant.

    If she’s said to be blue, who knows,
    Is the taint in the face or the hose?
    Is she being a prude
    Or pursuing étude?
    A mild basbleu or a nasty bluenose?

    April 7, 2014