Green’s Dictionary of Slang

bloody adj.

also bleedy
[ bloody adv. although a single example vilifiying a ‘bloody thief’ has been found for 1599, thus predating the adv.; Grose wrote in 1796 of how popular bloody was among the contemporary London underworld. There is no doubt that, along with the transported felons of the period, it made its way to the penal colonies of Botany Bay. Fifty years later it was well-established. In his book Travels in New South Wales (1847), Alexander Marjoribanks noted the prevalence of the word, claiming that he had heard a bullock-driver use it 27 times in 15 minutes, a rate of speech, he then calculated, that over a 50-year period would produce some 18,200,000 repetitions of the ‘disgusting word’. The Sydney Bulletin called it ‘the Australian adjective’ in its edition of 18 August 1894, explaining that ‘it is more used, and used more exclusively by Australians, than by any other allegedly civilized nation’. The term gained its final sanctification as the ‘Great Australian Adjective’ when W.T. Goodge used it as the title for one of the poems he included in his Hits! Skits! and Jingles! (1899)]

1. [late 16C; 19C+] a general negative adj., abominable or terrible; esp. in the UK and Aus., where it is so widespread as to be termed ‘the great Australian adjective’.

2. [early 19C+] usu. of a person or experience, unpleasant.

3. [mid-19C] rakish.

4. as infix.

In exclamations

SE in slang uses

In compounds

bloody back (n.) [his scarlet jacket; ? extra ref. to the frequent floggings of army discipline]

[late 18C–mid-19C] a soldier; also attrib.

bloody bucket (n.) (also bucket of blood, tub of blood) [the original 19C Bucket of Blood, Shorty Young’s tavern in Havre, Montana; its reputation spread and the term became generic for similar establishments; but note ref. to 18C ‘a dwelling in Water Lane, off Fleet Street, known as “Blood Bowl house” [...] where there seldom passed a month without the commission of a murder’ (in Peter Ackroyd’s London, 2000); this public house, properly known as the Red Lion, is pictured in plate IX of Hogarth’s Industry & Idleness] (US)

1. [late 19C+] a notably tough saloon or bar.

2. attrib. use of sense 1.

3. [1960s] a tough area of a town or city, orig. that which surrounded a local rough tavern.

bloody jemmy (n.) [jemmy n.1 (3)]

[early 19C–1910s] an uncooked sheep’s head.

bloody mary (n.) [pun on Mary I of England (1516–58), known popularly as Bloody Mary for her vindictive attacks on Protestantism]

[1940s+] (US) a menstruating woman, used by a woman of herself, e.g. I’m bloody mary today; thus the menstrual period itself.

bloody Monday (n.) [thus the episode in Rudyard Kipling’s Stalky and Co. (1899) when the headmaster canes the entire school before sending them home]

[late 17C–late 18C] the last day of the school term, on which holidays begin and on which punishments are trad. given out.

In phrases

bloody flag is out [orig. in Shakespeare’s Henry V (1598–9): ‘Stand for your own; unwind your bloody flag’; the aggressiveness that so often accompanies heavy drinking]

[late 17C–early 19C] a phr. signifying that a person is drunk.

In exclamations