stained or covered with blood:
a bloody handkerchief.
a bloody nose.
characterized by bloodshed:
bloody battle; a bloody rule.
inclined to bloodshed; bloodthirsty:
a bloody dictator.
of, relating to, or resembling blood; containing or composed of blood:
bloody tissue.
Slang. (used as an intensifier):
a bloody shame; a bloody nuisance.
to stain or smear with blood.
to cause to bleed, as by a blow or accident:
to bloody someone’s nose.
Slang. (used as an intensifier):
bloody awful; bloody wonderful.
Historical Examples

Buckskin Mose Buckskin Mose
The Mutiny of the Elsinore Jack London
The Expositor’s Bible: The Epistle to the Philippians Robert Rainy
Darkness and Dawn Frederic W. Farrar
The Missourian Eugene P. (Eugene Percy) Lyle
The Crow’s Nest Clarence Day, Jr.
William Shakespeare John Masefield
Benjamin Franklin; Self-Revealed, Volume II (of 2) Wiliam Cabell Bruce
The Fortunes of Hector O’Halloran, And His Man Mark Antony O’Toole W. H. Maxwell
Military Reminiscences of the Civil War V1 Jacob Dolson Cox

adjective bloodier, bloodiest
covered or stained with blood
resembling or composed of blood
marked by much killing and bloodshed: a bloody war
cruel or murderous: a bloody tyrant
of a deep red colour; blood-red
adverb, adjective
(slang, mainly Brit) (intensifier): a bloody fool, bloody fine food
verb bloodies, bloodying, bloodied
(transitive) to stain with blood

The onset of the taboo against bloody coincides with the increase in linguistic prudery that presaged the Victorian Era but it is hard to say what the precise cause was in the case of this specific word. Attempts have been made to explain the term’s extraordinary shock power by invoking etymology. Theories that derive it from such oaths as “By our Lady” or “God’s blood” seem farfetched, however. More likely, the taboo stemmed from the fear that many people have of blood and, in the minds of some, from an association with menstrual bleeding. Whatever, the term was debarred from polite society during the whole of the nineteenth century. [Rawson]

Shaw shocked theatergoers when he put it in the mouth of Eliza Doolittle in “Pygmalion” (1914), and for a time the word was known euphemistically as “the Shavian adjective.” It was avoided in print as late as 1936. Bloody Sunday, Jan. 30, 1972, when 13 civilians were killed by British troops at protest in Londonderry, Northern Ireland.

v. blood·ied, blood·y·ing, blood·ies


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