use of bloody

According to Michal Quinion, world wide words when discussing the different way Australians and British use the word,From about 1750 bloody became taboo in polite society.In an entry published in 1887 in what was then still called the New English Dictionary on Historical Principles, James Murray noted that it was “now constantly in the mouths of the lowest classes, but by respectable people considered ‘a horrid word’, on a par with obscene or profane language”. In 1880, John Ruskin commented that “[t]he use of the word ‘bloody’ in modern low English is a deeper corruption, not altering the form of the word, but defiling the thought of it.” British police reports of the time usually wrote it as “b----y”, a practice that continued well into the twentieth century.
George Bernard Shaw caused a sensation when his play Pygmalion was first performed in London in 1914. He had the flower girl Eliza Doolittle flounce out in Act III with the words, “Walk! Not bloody likely. I am going in a taxi”. The line created an enormous fuss, with people going to the play just to hear the forbidden word, and led to the jocular euphemism not Pygmalion likely, which survived into the 1970s.
It’s hard to explain why the word had such shock value, though it is likely that people mistakenly believed it derived from old oaths like Christ’s blood, by God’s blood, or by our lady, in reference to the Virgin Mary. The real origin, still in doubt, may be traceable back to the aristocratic rowdies, the bloods, of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

How do those who use “bloody” as a vulgar intensifier describe something in polite company that has blood on it? Simply use circumlocution? Or do they use more esoteric words like sanguineous? I can’t think of any vulgar words or racist slurs in my lexicon that would be even close to the general utility of “bloody”; those words generally have much more common synonyms that aren’t nearly as nasty, but I’m not aware of any more common term for “bloody”.

It’s just like any other word that has more than one meaning (i.e. most words) - the precise meaning is usually obvious from the context, i.e:

“He’s a bloody idiot” vs “He gave me a bloody nose”

Bloody hell, would it kill someone to provide a link? :wink:

I am Australian and it was certainly a swear word in my house when I grew up but then so were words like ‘hell’ and ‘bum’ (meaning bottom) and even ‘blasted’. Ordinary people just did not swear much in those days at least in public.

There was a popular song by the Royal Guardsmen - Snoopy vs the Red Baron- that used to play on the radio back in the 1960’s. The line ‘the bloody red baron’ always had a beep instead of ‘bloody’.

What’s the origin of the British slang word “bloody”?

Interesting. It was never bleeped in the US of A.

…and was furthermore accepted as a children’s song. Snoopy vs. the Red Baron (song) - Wikipedia

Children’s album:

Shouldn’t that be “Bloody 'ell”?

I understand words have more than one meaning, but that usually doesn’t apply to words considered too rude to use in polite company. “Pussy” I think is the closest I can think of, and I think the existence of other words for cats means the use of it referring to such animals has become fairly low. But since “bloody” can be inserted practically anywhere, many times you use it to describe an object that has blood on it, it could misinterpreted as an intensifier. While your example is clear due to the verb and the object used, someone that’s just describing a situation that involves some bloody object could easily be misinterpreted.

Strange! I’d been taught that it was a contraction of “By Our Lady”. Originally it had been pronounced "Ber’Luddy’ and was eventoually morphed into “Bloody”

The 'Od’s Blood" fits though. Other truncated references to the Divine include
“Snails!” (God’s Nails!) “Zounds!” (God’s Wounds!) “Gadzooks!” (God’s Hooks) and “Od’s Bodkins!” (God’s Body!)

Well, it’s not a curse word in America, so there’s that. The word ‘crap’ was bleeped in the song Kodachrome, however.

It took a while for Kodachrome to be bleeped, though.

The “by our Lady” hypothesis is common, but not much thought of by scholars. There’s a basic problem with all the theories, in fact, because bloody is generally an intensifier (that is, you can almost always substitute very and get roughly the same meaning), whereas all the suggested origins are oaths in themselves. You say, “S’blood! I’ll kill him!” not “Bloody! I’ll kill him!” but you say, “I’ll bloody kill him!”, not ”I’ll s’blood kill him!”

John Creasey, the mind-bogglingly prolific mystery writer, started a series in the 1950s about Commander George Gideon of Scotland Yard (as by J. J. Marric. He wrote only one a year, which is probably why they’re the only thing he’ll ever be remembered for.)

Anyway, since this was the 1950s, the books had to be as clean as a comic strip. But Gideon was a man’s man and some hint to be inserted about how manly he was. The gimmick Creasey came up with was that Gideon used “blurry” instead of “bloody,” because he’d gotten into the habit when his wife insisted he not swear in front of their children.

I have no idea how this played in Britain. He sure confused me in America, since there was no blurry way for a blurry American teenager in the blurry 1960s to have any blurry idea what the blurry hell he wasn’t saying.

If the person was British and thought that the use of bloody was bad then they would probably say something like He had a really bloody nose - pardon my French.

My mother’s grandfather immigrated from Britain in the late 1800’s, and lived with her family when she was growing up. She says he used the word a lot, it was bloody this and bloody that all time.

By way of a favorite teacher who was an Oxbridge man, I picked up the habit, myself.

Indeed; I’d always assumed that “bloody Red Baron” referred to von Richthofen’s kill count.
Powers &8^]

I’m pretty sure that’s the way the writers meant it to be as well. “Bloody” as an oath just isn’t used on this side of the pond, and there is zero reason to suspect that Phil Gernhard and Dick Haller (both Yanks) meant the word as such in the song.