Definitions

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

  • n. Noble or aristocratic descent.
  • n. A member of the aristocracy.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. noble or aristocratic ancestry
  • n. an aristocrat

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. the blood of noble or aristocratic families, which, according to a Spanish prover , has in it a tinge of blue; -- hence, a member of an old and aristocratic family.
  • adj. See under Blood.
  • n. a member of the nobility or aristocracy, or a person of high social status.
  • n. the quality of status that qualifies one as a blue blood; -- used metaphorically, as “They have blue blood in their veins.”.

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

  • n. a member of the aristocracy

Etymologies

Translation of Spanish sangre azul : sangre, blood + azul, blue (probably from the visible veins of fair-complexioned aristocrats).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
A calque of Spanish sangre azul. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • In the veins of these ran only streams of blue blood ” such as filled the veins of the leaders of the Crusades ” such as warmed the hearts of the O'Neals and O'Connors, of Wallace and Bruce, and animated the bosoms of the old feudal barons of England, who extorted the great charter of human liberty from King John.

    The Memories of Fifty Years

  • Kevin Michaels was my blue blood brother, sharing my hope for October Yankee glory.

    One Season

  • Had I been drawing on the imaginative resources of the writers of romantic fiction -- and therefore naturally straining for dramatic effects, instead of chronicling the somewhat romantic happenings of my life as a slave, I should have closed with the preceding chapter, leaving the reader to wonder which the baby was -- blue blood or mongrel, magnolia-white or mahogany-brown, but such is not my purpose.

    The Story of a Slave. A Realistic Revelation of a Social Relation of Slave Times--Hitherto Unwritten--From the Pen of One Who Has Felt Both the Lash and the Caress of a Mistress

  • Fisher, a shining eccentric of sixty-six, was First Sea Lord and at the height of his power; Churchill, although a blue blood and the maverick grandson of a duke, was then merely the thirty-two-year-old under secretary for the colonies.

    Castles of Steel

  • My tribe has to own kinship with a very tame and unsanguinary individual who, a long time ago when blue blood was a distilling in the

    A Voice From the South

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