Definitions

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

  • adjective Having poor vision; nearly or partly blind.
  • adjective Slow in understanding or discernment; dull.
  • adjective Obsolete Completely blind.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Quite blind; entirely blind.
  • Nearly blind; dim-sighted; seeing dimly or obscurely.

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

  • adjective Wholly blind.
  • adjective Nearsighted, or dim-sighted; seeing obscurely

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

  • adjective Partially blind.
  • adjective Near-sighted or dim-sighted.
  • adjective Lacking in discernment or understanding.

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

  • adjective having greatly reduced vision
  • adjective lacking in insight or discernment

Etymologies

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

[Middle English pur blind, totally blind, nearsighted : pur, pure; see pure + blind, blind; see blind.]

Examples

  • But suppose Franz-Josef, or the imbeciles who compose his cabinet, got wind of it - he's the kind of purblind ass who would take it as a sure sign that all Hungary's out for his blood, and he'd act according, orderin 'arrests, repressions, perhaps even executions, or some such folly!

    Watershed

  • It can only be explained as expressing a kind of purblind inertia.

    Robert L. Borosage: McCain and the Cuba Libre

  • But suppose Franz-Josef, or the imbeciles who compose his cabinet, got wind of it - he's the kind of purblind ass who would take it as a sure sign that all Hungary's out for his blood, and he'd act according, orderin 'arrests, repressions, perhaps even executions, or some such folly!

    Flashman And The Tiger

  • As the wheezing, purblind, quasi-survivor of the palsied medium of the weekly newsmagazine, Time's deathbed achievement was outlasting Newsweek, its ancient foe, which opted for accidental suicide by dispensing with news altogether and imagining that commercially adequate numbers of people would pay for a glossy magazine composed of the boring opinions of undistinguished commentators.

    Conrad Black: Time's Fatuous and Egregious Coverage of Wall Street Prosecutor

  • As the wheezing, purblind, quasi-survivor of the palsied medium of the weekly newsmagazine, Time's deathbed achievement was outlasting Newsweek, its ancient foe, which opted for accidental suicide by dispensing with news altogether and imagining that commercially adequate numbers of people would pay for a glossy magazine composed of the boring opinions of undistinguished commentators.

    Conrad Black: Time's Fatuous and Egregious Coverage of Wall Street Prosecutor

  • On the contrary, his purblind economic policy mix -- coupling a spending binge with deep tax cuts -- helped dig America into a deep fiscal hole.

    Will Marshall: The Lost Decade

  • On the contrary, his purblind economic policy mix -- coupling a spending binge with deep tax cuts -- helped dig America into a deep fiscal hole.

    Will Marshall: The Lost Decade

  • What we don't know rolling in those fields of April chamomile, between those dry-stone-walls of youth, holding one another's bodies like purblind puppies in a cardboard box;

    Elizabeth Boleman-Herring: Alas for the Egg That Is Greece

  • On the contrary, his purblind economic policy mix -- coupling a spending binge with deep tax cuts -- helped dig America into a deep fiscal hole.

    Will Marshall: The Lost Decade

  • On the contrary, his purblind economic policy mix -- coupling a spending binge with deep tax cuts -- helped dig America into a deep fiscal hole.

    Will Marshall: The Lost Decade

Comments

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  • So what's the difference, if any, between blind and purblind?

    October 9, 2007

  • Purblind is "partially" blind, no? I think the obsolete meaning of the word was completely blind, so it was once a synonym of blind.

    October 10, 2007

  • Purblind means either partially, or not completely blind. It also has a second meaning of slow to understand or discern.

    August 14, 2008

  • O purblind race of miserable men,

    How many among us at this very hour

    Do forge a life-long trouble for ourselves,

    By taking true for false, or false for true;

    Here, through the feeble twilight of this world

    Groping, how many, until we pass and reach

    That other, where we see as we are seen!

    - Alfred Tennyson, 'Geraint and Enid'.

    September 30, 2008

  • According to the OED, the prefix originally meant "pure," so it was actually an amplification of "blind," but this meaning became obscure centuries ago and it took meanings like partially blind, blind in one eye, myopic, stupid, etc.

    September 27, 2010

  • My friend, alas, made up her mind

    To credit some claims of dafter kind.

    So reason's traduced,

    It's trumped and seduced

    By visions supplied the purblind.

    May 17, 2017