or blest bless·ing, bless·es
- To make holy by religious rite; sanctify: The clergy blessed the site for the new monastery.
- To invoke divine favor upon: The bishop blessed the fishing fleet.
- To make the sign of the cross over: She knelt and blessed herself.
- To honor as holy; glorify: Bless the Lord.
- To confer well-being or prosperity on: They were blessed with a baby girl.
- To endow, as with talent: He was blessed with a photographic memory.
Origin of bless
Middle English blessen from
Old English blētsian to consecrate
; see bhel-3
in Indo-European roots.
Related Forms:Word History:
The verb bless
comes from Old English bl&oemac;dsian, blēdsian, blētsian,
“to bless, wish happiness, consecrate.” Although the Old English verb has no cognates in any other Germanic language, it can be shown to derive from the Germanic noun *blōdan,
therefore originally meant “to consecrate with blood, sprinkle with blood.” In many cultures, the blood of a sacrificed animal is thought to hallow and bring blessings upon the people and places that it touches. In the Biblical book of Exodus, for example, God punishes the Egyptians by killing the first-born son in every family, but the Israelites are able to protect their own houses from divine wrath by sprinkling the blood of a sacrificed lamb on their lintels and doorposts. The Angles, Saxons, and Jutes, the early Germanic migrants to Britain, would have originally used the verb bl&oemac;dsian
for the consecrations effected by their own pagan sacrifices. After they converted to Christianity, however, bl&oemac;dsian
acquired new meanings when it was used to translate the verb benedīcere,
“to bless” in the Latin Bible.
(third-person singular simple present blesses, present participle blessing, simple past and past participle blest or blessed)
- To make something blessed; to confer blessing upon.
- To make the sign of the cross upon; to cross (oneself).
- To esteem or account happy; to felicitate.
- Round his armed head his trenchant blade he blest.
- (Perl programming) (past tense only blessed) To turn (a reference) into an object.
From Middle English blessen, from Old English blētsian, blēdsian (“to consecrate (with blood)”), from Proto-Germanic *blōþisōną (“to sprinkle, mark or hallow with blood”), from *blōþą (“blood”), from Proto-Indo-European *bhlo-to- (“to gush, spurt”), from *bhol-, *bhlē-dh-, *bhlō(w)- (“to thrive, flourish, bloom”). Cognate with Old Norse bletza (“to bless”) (whence Icelandic blessa), Old English blēdan (“to bleed”). More at bleed.
- (UK, informal) Used as an expression of endearment, or (ironically) belittlement.
An ellipsis for an expression such as bless your heart