Black and Blue

Meaning of Idiom ‘Black and Blue’

To be black and blue means to be badly bruised and discolored. 1Ammer, Christine.  American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.,2Jarvie, Gordon. Bloomsbury Dictionary of Idioms]. London: Bloomsbury, 2009.

Usage

This idiom is used as an adjective. For example, one might say, “I tripped on the stairs and now I’m black and blue all over.” This example marks an instance where this idiom is an exaggeration. Or, one might say, “There’s a big black and blue mark on my leg but I have no idea how it got there.” Both examples describe bruising on the skin.

Examples Of Use

“After I fell off my bike I was black and blue for a week.”

“How did you get that black and blue spot on your shoulder?”

“Are you OK?” asked Amanda. “I saw you fall on the ice.” “I’m sure I’ll be black and blue tomorrow but I’m OK,” said Jack.

Origin

This idiom describing bruises on the skin, which can be several colors as they heel, has been used since around 1300. 3Ammer, Christine.  American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.

More Idioms Starting with B

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Sources   [ + ]

1, 3. Ammer, Christine.  American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.
2. Jarvie, Gordon. Bloomsbury Dictionary of Idioms]. London: Bloomsbury, 2009.