flesh and blood love

flesh and blood


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

  • noun Human nature or physical existence, together with its weaknesses.
  • noun A person's blood relatives; kin.

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

  • adjective Real; substantial.
  • adjective Consisting of flesh, blood, and other substances associated with animals or humans.
  • noun One's relatives or relations.


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  • Shakespeare uses the phrase "flesh and blood" in 11 of his plays, including Hamlet, Henry VI, Part 2 and Much Ado About Nothing. This use seems to indicate it was in common use in the late 1500s. Shakespeare may have coined the phrase.

    November 27, 2021

  • If it was in common use it's highly unlikely that Shakespeare coined the phrase.

    November 27, 2021

  • flesh and blood go back to biblical writings.

    November 27, 2021

  • According to the Oxford English Dictionary, Shakespeare coined the phrase "flesh and blood."

    November 30, 2021

  • Ok, Shakespeare had a time machine then, because 'flesh and blood' is all over that book.

    Ephesians 6:12

    King James Version

    12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

    December 1, 2021

  • Shakespeare coined it after I showed him an animal rights activist video shot in a slaughterhouse.

    December 1, 2021

  • Yes, the phrase “flesh and blood” is found in the King James Version of the Bible: Matthew 16:17 and Ephesians 6:12. The King James Version, however, was published in 1611, years after Q1 and Q2 versions of Shakespeare’s Hamlet were published. (Typically, scholars date the composition of the play between 1596-1601.)

    Ghost: But this eternal blazon must not be

    To ears of flesh and blood (1.5).

    The KJV also post-dates Julius Caesar: “and men are flesh and blood, and apprehensive” (3.1). E. K. Chambers, English literary critic and Shakespearean scholar, as well as most modern commentators, have agreed that the first performance of the Roman tragedy was at the Globe Theatre in 1599, 12 years prior to the KJV translation.

    Granted, the phrase “Flesh and Blood” is ancient, with the first reference found in print around 1000 CE. It’s an Old English translation of the Bible, (the Anglo-Saxon Gospels, Matthew XVI 170.) That’s the language of Beowulf and the same time period that a manuscript of the epic poem was produced.

    Is there any empirical evidence that Shakespeare had access to this Old English translation, was capable of reading Old English and then lifted the phrase from this bible? Is it not possible that two different writers over a span of time could come up with the same phrase independent from one another?

    By the way, Bill Bryson credits Shakespeare with coining the phrase in The Mother Tongue: English and How It Got That Way (2001) page 65.

    December 2, 2021

  • For what it's worth, I'm looking at the online version of the OED (through my library's subscription), and I see the following:

    "a1340 R. Rolle Psalter xvii. 11 He maked his son to take fleisse and blode.

    1393 W. Langland Piers Plowman C. ii. 153 Whanne hit hadde of þe folde flesch and blod ytake.

    1509 Parlyament Deuylles (de Worde) lxxii I..toke flesshe and blode a mayde within.

    1598 W. Shakespeare Love's Labour's Lost i. i. 186 I would see his owne person in flesh and blood."

    December 2, 2021

  • When we talk about "coining a phrase", isn't that different from having the earliest citation? Surely no one is suggesting that Shakey or any of the other authors cited in the OED actually "came up with" the expression?

    December 2, 2021

  • Now I'm wondering about the etymology of blood.

    December 2, 2021