How did 'blue' come to mean sad?

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meat n potatoes:
think of blues music. how did 'biue' first come to mean sad?

isn't blue kind of a peaceful, serene color? blue sky, for instance. or deep blue ocean?
isn't purple a more proper sad color? or brown?
or does being blue mean not just any kind of sadness but sadness that is wide, vast, and deep as the sky or ocean?
or does it mean you're so sad and lonesome that you've given your soul over to eternity cuz this little world just done you wrong?
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Marc Dashevsky:
meat n potatoes says in article (Email Removed):
[nq:1]think of blues music. how did 'biue' first come to mean sad?[/nq]
The DICTIONARY OF AMERICAN SLANG, 3rd Edition by Chapman and Kipfer doesn't say why, but they do mention that blue first came to be used to mean "melancholy, depressed, woeful" in the early 1500s.

Marc Dashevsky Put "usenet" in Subject if you want me to read e-mail. http://marcdashevsky.com
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Dr. Jai Maharaj:
[nq:1]think of blues music. how did 'biue' first come to mean sad? isn't blue kind of a peaceful, serene color? ... so sad and lonesome that you've given your soul over to eternity cuz this little world just done you wrong?[/nq]
Excerpt:
BLUES Regarding "the blues" as in depression or the music, the "Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins" by William and Mary Morris says it's believed this expression came from "...an abbreviation of 'blue devils' hallucinations, like pink elephants, popularly believe to accompany delirium tremens...the term blue in the sense of melancholy, depressed or despondent has been an element of slang, especially black slang, since midway through the past century..."
Blue Devils or A fit of the blues. A fit of spleen, low spirits. Roach and Esquirol affirm, from observation, that indigo dyers are especially subject to melancholy; and that those who dye scarlet are choleric. Paracelsus also asserts that blue is injurious to the health and spirits. There may, therefore be more science in calling melancholy blue than is generally allowed. The German blei (lead) which gives rise to our slang word blue or blucy (lead) seems to bear upon the "leaden down-cast eyes" of melancholy. From the First Hypertext Edition of The Dictionary of Phrase and Fable at
http://www.bibliomania.com/Reference/PhraseAndFable/index.html THE DICTIONARY OF PHRASE AND FABLE BY E. COBHAM BREWER, FROM THE NEW AND ENLARGED EDITION OF 1894
End of excerpt from:
http://phrases.shu.ac.uk/bulletin board/23/messages/180.html

Jai Maharaj
http://www.mantra.com/jai
Om Shanti
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Luca:
[nq:1]think of blues music. how did 'biue' first come to mean sad?[/nq]
Haven't a clue, but on a similar note I might ask why 'cross' stands for angry, annoyed etc.
Luca

"Life doesn't imitate art, life imitates bad TV."
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Joe Fineman:
[nq:2]think of blues music. how did 'biue' first come to mean sad?[/nq]
[nq:1]The DICTIONARY OF AMERICAN SLANG, 3rd Edition by Chapman and Kipfer doesn't say why, but they do mention that blue first came to be used to mean "melancholy, depressed, woeful" in the early 1500s.[/nq]
So also in the OED. "The blues" is short for "the blue devils", which meant depression as early as the 18th century. The music was named after that.

Joe Fineman (Email Removed)
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Raymond S. Wise:
[nq:2]think of blues music. how did 'biue' first come to mean sad?[/nq]
[nq:1]Haven't a clue, but on a similar note I might ask why 'cross' stands for angry, annoyed etc.[/nq]
I suspect a connection with the idea of "cross" as a something causing suffering, as in "That's my cross to bear." See the following noun and adjective senses for "cross" from *The Century Dictionary:*

From the entry for the noun "cross1" at
www.century-dictionary.com
(quote)
*9.* Anything that thwarts, obstructs, perplexes, or troubles ; hindrance ; vexation ; misfortune ; opposition ; trial of patience.
I meet with nothing but crosses and vexations.
Sheridan, School for Scandal, i. 2.
It was a permanent cross that was fought throughout life between Socrates and his obsequious antagonists. De Quincey, Style, ii.
(end quote)
From the entry for the adjective "cross1":
(quote)
*4.* Peevish ; fretful ; ill-humored ; petulant ; perverse : applied to persons.
What other Designs he had I know not, for he was
commonly very Cross. Dampier, Voyages, I. 364.

I would have thanked you before, my dear Aunt, as I ought to have done, . . . but, to say the truth, I was too cross to write. Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice, p. 327.

*5.* Proceeding from a peevish or bad temper ;
expressing ill humor : as, a cross look ; cross words.* 6.* Contrary ; contradictory ; perplex- ing.
These cross points
Of varying letters, and opposing consuls.
B. Jonson, Sejanus, iv. 5.
There was nothing, however cross and perplext, brought to him by our artists, which he did not play off at sight with ravishing sweetness. Evelyn, Diary, March 4, 1656.

(end quote)
As for "blue," here's some interesting stuff from the Century. Definitions 5 and 7 of the following are pretty much opposites!
From
www.century-dictionary.com
(quote)
* 2.* Livid ; lead-colored : said of the skin or complexion as affected by cold, contusion, or
fear (see blae ) : hence the phrase black and blue.

See black. * 3.* Figuratively, afflicted with low spirits ; despondent ; depressed ; hypochondria- cal ; having the blues.
E'en I or you.
If we'd nothing to do,
Should find ourselves looking remarkably blue.
Barham, Ingoldsby Legends, II. 10.
Sir Lucius looked blue, but he had hedged.
Disraeli, Young Duke, ii. 5.
*4.* Dismal ; unpromising : applied to things : as, a blue lookout. (Colloq.)* 5.* Inflexible ; rigid ;

strict in morals or religion ; puritanic : as, a blue Presbyterian : often in the form true blue (which see, below).* 6.* (With ref. to blue-stocking, q. v.) Learned ; pedantic : applied to women.
Some of the ladies were very blue and well informed. Thackeray.
*7.* Indecent ; obscene : as, blue stories. (Colloq.)

* True blue* (that is, genuine, lasting blue :
blue being taken as a type of constancy, and used in this and other phrases often with an added allusion to some

other sense of blue ), constant : unwavering ; stanch ; ster- ling : unflinching ; upright and downright : specifically applied to the Scotch Presbyterians or Whig party in the seventeenth century, from the color (blue) adopted by the Covenanters in contradistinction to the royal red.

* 9* (Short for blue-
stocking. ) A pedantic woman.
Next to a lady I must bid adieu
Whom some in mirth or malice call a blue.
Crabbe.
(end quote)
I would speculate that there was a connection between "blue" in the sense of "sad," "blue" in the sense of "livid," and the theory of humors, by which a melancholic person was thought to have too much black bile. I presume that it was thought that this would affect his appearance just as it was thought that a person who had a lot of blood and thus was "sanguine" was thought likely to have a reddish quality to his skin.

Raymond S. Wise
Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
E-mail: mplsray @ yahoo . com
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R H Draney:
Marc Dashevsky filted:
[nq:2]think of blues music. how did 'biue' first come to mean sad?[/nq]
[nq:1]The DICTIONARY OF AMERICAN SLANG, 3rd Edition by Chapman and Kipfer doesn't say why, but they do mention that blue first came to be used to mean "melancholy, depressed, woeful" in the early 1500s.[/nq]
Bear in mind that there was precious little American slang in the early 1500s..
Some time ago I tabulated the frequency of words in the titles of popular songs..."blue" appears in more titles than all other color words combined...(oddly, while "gray" has never appeared in the title of a song in the Billboard Top 40, "grey" has, and the song in question was by an American act)..r
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Mike Lyle:
(quoting Century Dictionary)
[nq:1]* 9* (Short for blue- stocking. ) A pedantic woman. Next to a lady I must bid adieu Whom some in mirth or malice call a blue. Crabbe. (end quote)[/nq]
I spotted a memorial plaque to Dorothea Beale in Gloucester Cathedral the other day. Why not Miss Buss?
Mike.
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don freeman:
[nq:1]think of blues music. how did 'biue' first come to mean sad? isn't blue kind of a peaceful, serene color? blue sky, for instance. or deep blue ocean?[/nq]
Go beat yourself up and you'll end up black and blue.

It's not hard to figure out why a black mood is an unhappy mood. Blue works the same way. I think.
Red is a colour of fire, of passion. Once you start adding red to your moods, things start looking up.
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