1. misery, depression, unhappiness.
|Letters 11 July (1963) I. 26: I am far from being quite well, tho not troubled wth ye Blews as I have been .|
|Pettyfogger Dramatized II vi: Now I must get drunk to-night or the damn’d horrors will get me; I shall be eat up by the blues.|
|Salmagundi (1860) 126: Everybody knows how provoking it is to be cut short in a fit of the blues, by an impertinent question about ‘what is the matter?’.|
|Letters from Alabama 18 Feb. 179: If this does not cure you of the blues, nothing that I can give you will.|
|City Looking Glass V ii: Troubled with the blues, doctor, very blue – ha, ha, ha! [...] I am resolved to be drunk.|
|‘Hints for an Historical Play’ in Bentley’s Misc. June 598: This gives him the ‘Blues,’ which impairs the delight / He’d have otherwise felt when they dub him a Knight.|
|Ingoldsby Legends (1842) 54: This step of the Jew’s [...] Gave the newly-made Bridegroom a fit of ‘the Blues’.‘The Merchant of Venice’ in|
|G’hals of N.Y. 198: Now that I have reasoned you out of the blues, let’s wet with a little red-eye!|
|Christy and Fox’s Complete Melodist and Joke-Book in(2001) n.p.: ‘Julius, what’s the matter with you this evening — you seem so down-hearted.’ ‘Sam, I got a touch ob de blues.’.|
|Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 101/1: Tu ’ell wi’ thes game; et give mi t’ blues t’ b’ sittin’ ’ere loike a bloody dummy.|
|Wanderings of a Vagabond 406: A single day in the quiet town of Jeffersonville was sufficient to give one the blues.|
|Knocknagow 187: He has cured me of a severe fit of the blues.|
|Bulletin (Sydney) 11 Apr. 4/2: [F]eeling that, after an acute attack of the ‘blues,’ we had a desire to be in love and charity with all men – hard though it be; for included in that all are some of the greatest scoundrels yet unhung […].|
|‘’Arry on ’appiness’ in Punch 3 Jan. 4/1: You’ll be thinking I’ve got the blue-mouldies, old man, and you won’t be fur hout.|
|‘Meeting Old Mates’ in Roderick (1972) 166: Pretty soon you get the blues badly, and feel nearly smothered in there.|
|Boy’s Own Paper 8 Dec. 148: When I got back to school, I found Cobb in a fit of blues.|
|Eve. Star (Wash., DC) 25 Dec. 15/3: I hate the sea [...] it always gets on my nerves and gives me the blues.|
|Abbeville Press & Banner 28 Apr. 5/5: The ‘blues’ is a subject which deserves the biggest attention [...] We coime in contact with many ‘blues’, [...] the Monday morning ‘blues’ [...] the ‘crazy blues’ very common among boys [...] His girl gives him the ‘high foot’ [...] His heart is sad. He has those ‘crazy blues’.|
|(con. 1917) Mattock 224: I figured he must be down in the dumps with the blues.|
|(con. 1917–19) USA (1966) 576: I’ve got the blues / I’ve got the blues / I’ve got the alcoholic blues.Nineteen Nineteen in|
|Really the Blues 4: They taught me the blues in Pontiac – I mean the blues, blues that I felt from my head to my shoes, really the blues.|
|Walk on the Wild Side 80: Early in the morning before day / That’s when my blues come falling down.|
|Inside Daisy Clover (1966) 21: I’ve got an attack of the blues.|
|Airtight Willie and Me 39: I slipped on a mournful mask, faking the emotions of a dude with hurtful blues.|
|Only Fools and Horses [TV script] She’s just got like baby blues that’s all.‘From Prussia With Love’|
|Guardian G2 19 July 23: The gripping, terrible pathos of his sidekick’s post-divorce blues.|
|Indep. Rev. 16 Feb. 7: Millions swear by St John’s Wort, the natural way to lift the blues.|
2. a problem.
|Ringolevio 221: The agents simply suggested that the brevity of his return home was his own blues.|
to act sanctimoniously.
|Morn. Post 18 Dec. 3/3: To the chaplain if he’ll listen and come the holy blues.|
1. (US) to complain, to whinge, to bemoan one’s lot.
|Pal Joey 23: Just think a year ago you were the one crying the blues.|
|Harder They Fall (1971) 216: Miniff came crying the blues louder than ever.|
|Pittsburgh Courier (PA) 25 Feb. 20/1: Harlem mammas shouting the blues.|
|Courier-Post (Camden, NJ) 2 Nov. 8/6: Reading all those yes votes crying the blues must bring tears to the eyes.|
|Petaluma Argus-Courier (CA) 2 Dec. 8/1: Folks who were crying the blues because it didn’t rain, will soon by crying the blues if it doesn’t stop.|
|Courier Times (Levittown, PA) 4 Feb. 6/5: Everything is crying the blues business-wise.|
|Brown’s Requiem 64: He comes back to Bel-Air and cries the blues to the pro. Tells him he’s got to see his dying aunt, or go to the hospital for some tests.|
|Corner (1998) 179: He keeps crying the blues about his damn Easter outfit.|
|‘Trill Niggaz Don’t Die’ [lyrics] Some niggaz getting bruised, some always crying the blues.|
2. to mourn, to regret.
|Mad mag. Jan.–Feb. 48: So how come you don’t cry the blues for him?|
3. to make a request, to demand.
|Wire ser. 4 ep. 1 [TV script] They want one debate for crime and safety [...] Tony Gray cryin’ the same blues.‘Boys of Summer’|
1. in debt, in difficulties.
|Mail (Adelaide) 21 Feb. 2/5: The scheme has been kicked clean off its actuarial and insurance basis and is now in the blue.|
2. out of control.
|Popular Dict. Aus. Sl.|
|I Travelled a Lonely Land (1957) 234/2: in the blue – out of control.|
1. suffering a fit of delirium tremens [blue devils n.].
|Mercury (Hobart) 23 Apr. 2/5: [from the Stranraer Free Press] [...] in the shakes, in the blues.|
|DSUE (8th edn) 104: from ca. 1850.|
|Little Ragamuffin 115: Reg’lar in the blues you climbs up into your wan.|
to complain, to whinge.
|Diary of a Doughboy 19 Sept. [Internet] And I’m not singing the ‘Blues’ either, for it’s a actual fact for I feel like my stomach is touching my backbone.|
|Lincoln Jrnl Star (NE) 5 July 23/1: When you unload your troubles on a friend [...] you are ‘singing the blues’.|
|Gangster Girl 3: You came in here carryin’ the banner and singin’ the blues.|
|(con. 1920s) Studs Lonigan (1936) 361: ‘You singin’ the blues again?’ asked Slug.Young Manhood in|
|On Broadway 16 Dec. [synd. col.] All look healthy, even though they still sing the blues about ‘No dough.’.|
|East of Farewell 112: Pipe down [...] You’re always singin’ the blues.|
|Really the Blues 164: ‘The hell with it, Josh,’ I sighed, singing the blues for real.|
|Yes We have No 186: I don’t mean to sing the blues.|
|Big Boat to Bye-Bye 1: Normally when I sing the blues I keep it in the shower and spare the staff. But this wasn’t normal.|
to be very unhappy.
|Courier-Jrnl (Louisville, KY) 10 Sept. 12/5: They’re all ‘sobbing the blues’ — squawking their heads off.|
|Akron Beacon Jrnl (OH) 4 Oct. 19/5: Businessmen are sitting around sucking their thumbs and sobbing the blues.|
|(con. 1920s) Studs Lonigan (1936) 538: With [...] my old man sobbing the blues every night about how broke he is.Judgement Day in|
|Altoona Trib. (PA) 12 July 9/3: Man, we’re really sobbing the blues over this.|
|Arizona Republican (Phoeniz, AZ) 15 Jan. 47/7: [small ad.] Seller sobbing the blues & will sacrifice this 4 Br plus huge farmhouse.|
|Philadelphia Inquirer (PA) 16 Apr. 66/2: Pressure from a parent or boss may have you sobbing the blues.|
|Star Gaz. (Elmira, NY) 19 Apr. 11/4: After months of sobbing the blues over New York [the] executive’s office is singing a happier tune.|