from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • transitive verb To make holy by religious rite; sanctify.
  • transitive verb To invoke divine favor upon:
  • transitive verb To make the sign of the cross over.
  • transitive verb To honor as holy; glorify.
  • transitive verb To confer well-being or prosperity on.
  • transitive verb To endow, as with talent.
  • idiom (bless you) Used to wish good health to a person who has just sneezed.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • 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.
  • 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.

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

  • transitive verb To make or pronounce holy; to consecrate.
  • transitive verb To make happy, blithesome, or joyous; to confer prosperity or happiness upon; to grant divine favor to.
  • transitive verb To express a wish or prayer for the happiness of; to invoke a blessing upon; -- applied to persons.
  • transitive verb To invoke or confer beneficial attributes or qualities upon; to invoke or confer a blessing on, -- as on food.
  • transitive verb Archaic To make the sign of the cross upon; to cross (one's self).
  • transitive verb obsolete To guard; to keep; to protect.
  • transitive verb To praise, or glorify; to extol for excellences.
  • transitive verb To esteem or account happy; to felicitate.
  • transitive verb obsolete To wave; to brandish.
  • transitive verb an exclamation of surprise.
  • transitive verb to secure, defend, or preserve from.
  • transitive verb to favor or endow with; to be favored or endowed with.

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

  • interjection UK, informal Used as an expression of endearment, or (ironically) belittlement.
  • verb To make something blessed, to confer blessing upon.
  • verb transitive (past tense only blessed) To turn (a reference) into an object.

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

  • verb give a benediction to
  • verb render holy by means of religious rites
  • verb make the sign of the cross over someone in order to call on God for protection; consecrate
  • verb confer prosperity or happiness on


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English blessen, from Old English blētsian, to consecrate; see bhel- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

An ellipsis for an expression such as bless your heart

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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.


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  • Means "goodbye" in Icelandic.

    July 13, 2009