Blue

blue

c.1300, bleu, blwe, etc., from Old French blo “pale, pallid, wan, light-colored; blond; discolored; blue, blue-gray,” from Frankish blao or some other Germanic source, from Proto-Germanic blæwaz (cf. Old English blaw, Old Saxon and Old High German blao, Danish blaa, Swedish blå, Old Frisian blau, Middle Dutch bla, Dutch blauw, German blau “blue”), from PIE bhle was “light-colored, blue, blond, yellow,” from PIE root bhel– (1) “to shine, flash” (see bleach (v.)).

The same PIE root yielded Latin flavus “yellow,” Old Spanish blavo “yellowish-gray,” Greek phalos “white,” Welsh blawr “gray,” Old Norse bla “livid” (the meaning in black and blue), showing the usual slippery definition of color words in Indo-European The present spelling is since 16c., from French influence (Modern French bleu).

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