Green’s Dictionary of Slang

blazes n.

[the trad. fires of hell]

1. a euph. for hell; esp. in various phrs. below.

[UK]‘A. Burton’ Adventures of Johnny Newcome I 41: They thought he must be mad as blazes!
[UK]Blackburn Standard 21 Mar. 4/5: ‘It is as cold as blazes!’ cried Sam.
[US]Southern Sentinel (Plaquemine, LA) 21 Nov. 1/5: ‘I call you, Colonel, what have you got?’ ‘The blazes you do,’ said the Colonel.
[UK]C. Reade It Is Never Too Late to Mend II 248: He will shake all that nonsense to blazes.
[UK]A. Mayhew Paved with Gold 301: Thundering hard; but by blazes she’s right!
[US]G.W. Whitman in Civil War Letters Dec. 77: I should be mad as blazes if I knew you did not use the money I sent.
[UK]Thackeray Adventures of Philip (1899) 178: Old Parr street is mined, sir, – mined! And some morning we shall be blown into blazes, – into blazes, sir, mark my words!
[US]H.L. Williams Joaquin 131: To blazes and blackness with the Mexicans!
[US]J. O’Connor Wanderings of a Vagabond 85: My imagination showed me every moment of the trial – the judge, the lawyers, and old Scruggs giving me ‘blazes’.
[UK]Dundee Courier (Scot.) 18 Mar, 7/4: I suppose yours is all cadged, and it is as rusty as blazes.
[Aus]H. Lawson ‘Macquarie’s Mate’ in Roderick (1972) 121: Oh, to blazes with the old sot!
[UK]G.B. Shaw John Bull’s Other Island IV i: Begob, it just tore the town in two and sent the whole dam market to blazes.
[UK]Kipling ‘The Bonds of Discipline’ in Traffics and Discoveries 49: ‘Deviate to blazes!’ says ’Op. ‘I’m goin’ to deviate to the owner’s comfortable cabin direct.’.
[US]D. Runyon ‘The Defence of Strikerville’ in From First To Last (1954) 20: It was colder’n blazes.
[US]F.P. Dunne Mr Dooley Says 71: It’s hot as blazes up there these days.
[Aus]C.J. Dennis ‘The Game’ in Moods of Ginger Mick 109: Ho! the sky’s as blue as blazes an’ the sun is shinin’ bright.
[Ire]Joyce Ulysses 701: Swearing blazes because he lost 20 quid.
[UK]‘Sapper’ Final Count 844: To blazes with the invalid.
[UK]P. Cheyney Don’t Get Me Wrong (1956) 34: I wonder in blazes this dame manages to get ice around here.
[Aus]K.S. Prichard Roaring Nineties 136: He has a crack at it — and there she is, rich as blazes.
[US]J.T. Farrell ‘Milly and the Porker’ in Amer. Dream Girl (1950) 200: He gets sore as blazes.
[NZ]R. Morrieson Pallet on the Floor 89: The cottage isn’t worth a damn. The section’s overgrown to blazes.

2. the guts, the innards, the ‘stuffing’.

[UK]Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 82/1: I’ll knock blazes out o’ ere a ‘cop’ as ’ll try tu ‘pinch’ thee!
[US]C.E. Mulford Bar-20 v: ‘So long, an’ plug blazes out of them,’ shouted Wallace.

In derivatives

In phrases

all to blazes (adj.)

completely out of order.

[US]E.S. Ellis Huge Hunter in Beadle’s Half Dime Library XI:271 6/3: These new-fangled things generally go well at first, and then, afore yer know it, they bu’st all to blazes.
[UK]A. Binstead Gal’s Gossip 136: The Biffins cad said the meter was ‘all wrong to blazes’.
[UK]P.G. Wodehouse Jill the Reckless 92: And this morning Amalgamated Dyestuffs went all to blazes.
[NZ]F. Sargeson ‘Good Samaritan’ in A Man And His Wife (1944) 78: He said he was all to blazes [...] he was upset I could see.
go to blazes (v.)

to decline, to collapse.

[UK]‘Paul Pry’ Oddities of London Life I 48: ‘I vish I may go to blazes,’ says the lady, ‘if it [i.e. a task] ain't as right as a trivet’.
[Aus]G.C. Mundy Our Antipodes III 30: Mille murthers! there go the praties to blazes.
[Ire]Cork Examiner 3 Dec. 4/4: Now, you’ll all go to blases [sic] together.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 3 Jan. 13/1: The proposition to burn the Mallee (Vic.) scrub in order to get rid of the rabbits is practically letting the question ‘go to blazes’.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 5 July 8/3: What [he] really wishes to imply is that they mean getting the oof, even though they have to go to blazes for it.
[US]Eve. Star (Washington, DC) 30 Sept. 39/2: I wouldn’t bother you with the young cub. I’d cut him adrift and let him go to blazes.
[UK]‘Sapper’ Black Gang 378: The ’ole ruddy place is gone to blazes.
[UK]P. Allingham Cheapjack 218: Look here, Peters, you know the business is going to blazes.
like blazes (adv.) (also like all blazes)

energetically, passionately.

[UK]‘A. Burton’ Adventures of Johnny Newcome IV 221: He’d cap a bar Like blazes.
[UK]E. Moor Suffolk Words and Phrases n.p.: Like blazes, that is, furiously.
[UK] ‘Life In London’ in Swell!!! or, Slap-Up Chaunter 11: The yokels all are floor’d with fright, / So full of yawns and gazes; That up to town to see the sight, / They’re pouring in like blazes.
[US]T. Haliburton Clockmaker I 232: Take a stick and give him a rael good quiltin, jist tantune him like blazes, and set him to work.
[US]‘Jonathan Slick’ High Life in N.Y. I 172: Would you think it right if a feller was tu come out like all blazes agin one of your letters in the Express, if he hadn’t read ’em?
[UK]C. Reade It Is Never Too Late to Mend II 13: The coats of your stomach being irritated by your disorder, they have raked it like blazes.
[UK]Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 5/1: One of the ‘guns’ [...] not noticing his ‘judy,’ [...] took a ‘granny’ at one of the private ‘lush’ boxes, where he ‘piped’ her and a noted ‘gun,’ ‘lushing’ like blazes.
[UK] ‘’Arry to the Front!’ in Punch 9 Mar. 100/2: Steam’s hup, and we go it like blazes.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 4 Apr. 10/2: [He] opened the door of the hearse, skipped in, kissed his hand to his former employer, and briskly told the driver to ‘drive on like blazes.’ The great Cham of Humour stood at the door looking after the solemn turn-out as it rattled gaily up the street [...].
[UK]H. Fludyer Letters 31: The cunning old rascal found me out, and barked like blazes for joy.
[UK]Marvel 22 Oct. 16: Request the astonished driver to ‘crack on like blazes for Waterloo’.
[UK]Gem 16 Mar. 11: He’ll snap like blazes, and it’s good-bye to your arm if he gets hold.
[Aus]Truth (Brisbane) 21 Mar. 13/7: They has got to graft like blazes / For to get a bit of bread.
[UK]A. Lunn Harrovians 39: You’ve all jolly well got to sweat like blazes, or you’ll get the skin taken off your backs.
[US]A. Brown Old Crow 319: Things hurt you like blazes.
[UK]E. Raymond Tell England (1965) 192: Balls in! Shove like blazes!
[UK]W.S. Maugham Bread-Winner Act I: He’ll have to work like blazes.
[US]H.A. Smith Rhubarb 10: There are scalps that itch like blazes.
[Ire]L. Doyle Back to Ballygullion 181: Run like blazes, now.
[UK]T. Parker Frying-Pan 207: I’d have been working like blazes to find every scrap of assistance I could.
[Ire]E. Mac Thomáis Janey Mack, Me Shirt is Black 97: They were all wide awake, filling their clay pipes and puffing like blazes.
[UK]I. Rankin Black Book (2000) 290: His leg was hurting like blazes.
old blazes (n.)

the Devil.

[US]W.T. Thompson Chronicles of Pineville 49: All the hair was off his head, and his face was as black as the very old blazes.
[US]Southern Literary Messenger June n.p.: He looked, upon my word, like Old Blazes himself, with his clothing all on fire, and rage and despair in his face.

In exclamations


a general excl.

[UK]Newry Examiner 22 Nov. 4/1: Oh, blazes! what’s this?
Ottowa Free Trader (IL) 8 May 11/1: Blazes! What are you biting me for?
go to blazes!

an excl. of dismissal, both of the person and their opinion or statement.

[UK]Guy Fawkes’ Day in Satirist 1 Dec. 421: Stagger. These may a something yield—at least I’ll try ’em. Par. Phil. You go to blazes!
Metropolitan Mthly Jan. 58: Mr. Harper then gave King a kick in the face, and, in the most gentlemanly manner, bid him go to blazes.
[UK]R. Nicholson Cockney Adventures 24 Feb. 135: You, and your friend, and Mr. Sharpem, may all go to blazes together.
[UK]J. Lindridge Sixteen-String Jack 114: Go to blazes with you!
[Aus]Melbourne Punch 9 Aug. 6/2: ‘Slangiana’ [...] Come, Bella, do, ‘tis beastly rot / Let’s hook it — Cremorne go to blazes.
[UK](con. 1840s–50s) H. Mayhew London Labour and London Poor I 256/1: There was then a rapid and interrupted colloquy, in which the most frequent words were: ‘Go to blazes!’ with retorts of ‘You go to blazes!’.
Soldier’s Jrnl (Richmond, VA) 10 Aug. 7/2: ‘Go to blazes with your conundrums,’ cried he.
[US]E.L. Wheeler Deadwood Dick in Beadle’s Half Dime Library I:1 82/3: ‘Go to blazes!’ shouts back Jehu.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 6 Mar. n.p.: Mr dear Parkes, – See you blowed first: go to blazes.
[Aus]‘Rolf Boldrewood’ Colonial Reformer II 63: Go to blazes! Five hundred more likely.
[UK]G. Parker Mrs Falchion 271: Any other yarn-spinner would have killed the male idiot by murder, or a drop from a precipice, or a lingering fever ; but Clovelly did the thing with delicate torture. He said, ' Go to blazes,' and he fixed up that marriage — and there you are !
[US]Dly Sth Kentuckian (Hopkinsonville, KY) 15 June 3/1: ‘Take it down!’ roared the officer. ‘Go to blazes!’ retorted Evans.
[US]C.E. Mulford Bar-20 Ch. iii: Mebby you kin go to blazes. I ain’t no gallery.
[UK]D. Lowrie My Life in Prison 282: I told him to go to blazes.
[UK]‘Bartimeus’ ‘The Argonauts’ in Naval Occasions 34: ‘What did he say?’ [...] ‘Said we could take the third cutter, an’ go to Blazes in her.’.
[UK]E. Poole Harbor (1919) 168: Your nice little Puritanical codes can all go to blazes.
[UK]E. Raymond Tell England (1965) 48: ‘Go to blazes,’ I said, ‘and take your vulgar guffaws with you.’.
[US]J. Dixon Free To Love 258: ‘Go to blazes!’ came the hoarse defiance from within.
[UK]F. Anthony ‘Winter Feeding the Herd’ in Me And Gus (1977) 82: He said that [...] he intended to go home, and I could go to blazes.
[Ire]L. Doyle Back to Ballygullion 180: ‘Go, go, go,’ he shouts. ‘Go to blazes.’.
[NZ]J.A. Lee Shiner Slattery 114: You don’t know whether she’s [...] going for the poker now so she can crack you over the head and tell you to go to blazes.
[Aus]G. Seal Lingo 57: When these terms were used together [...] they magnified each other and were to be understood as meaning go to blazes.
how the blazes! (also what in blazes! what the blazes! what the blazing! where the blazes! who the blazes! why the blaizes! why the blazes!)

used interrogatively in a general excl.

[UK]‘Bill Truck’ Man o’ War’s Man (1843) 62: What the blazes can be more unfair.
[UK]Dickens Pickwick Papers (1999) 727: ‘Pell,’ he used to say to me many a time. ‘How the blazes you can stand the head-work you do, is a mystery to me.’.
[UK]Dickens Oliver Twist (1966) 135: What the blazes is in the wind now?
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 10 Oct. 3/2: Tracey [...] demanded from another apartment what the blazes he wanted.
[UK]Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 13/2: Why the blaizes did we not tell him that before.
[US]H.L. Williams Black-Eyed Beauty 22: Where the blazes is the ‘dough’ to come from?
[Ire]C.J. Kickham Knocknagow 99: Why the blazes didn’t he fire?
[Aus]‘Rolf Boldrewood’ Robbery Under Arms (1922) 245: How the blazes did he know the police were laid on to the lot of us?
[UK]Sporting Times 18 Jan. 1: Shakespeare’s, no Shakspere’s, no Shakespere’s (Oh, why the blazes couldn’t he spell his name one way) great tragedy macbeth.
[US]S. Crane Maggie, a Girl of the Streets (2001) 12: Why deh blazes don’ chere try teh kep Jim from fightin’?
[US]Flynt & Walton Powers That Prey 39: ‘I want you to put me next.’ ‘What the blazes do you come to me about “next” for? I ain’t next to nothin’ in this town except you dead ones at the Front Office.’.
[UK]Marvel XIV:358 2: Who the blazes d’ ye think yew’re hustlin’?
[UK]A. Binstead Mop Fair 94: What the blazes attracts a chap like you to such a peep-show as this?
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 8 Apr. 4/7: Why the blazes shouldn’t they regard you as a gent.
[UK]D. Stewart Wild Tribes of London in Illus. Police News 15 Feb. 12/2: ‘How the blazes did you get away?’.
[UK]Gem 23 Jan. 22: What in blazes do you mean by going off like that?
[Aus]L. Esson Woman Tamer in Ballades of Old Bohemia (1980) 71: What the blazing!
[US]J. London Smoke Bellew Pt 8 [Internet] You an’ me has a month’s grub [...] which is one hundred an’ eighty meals. Here’s two hundred Indians, with real, full-grown appetites. How the blazes can we give’m one meal even?
[UK]Poison Gas Feb. I :1 7: Why the blazes can’t the jugginses who make these things make some that will light?
[US]‘Digit’ Confessions of a Twentieth Century Hobo 21: What the blazes do you think you are doing?
[UK]Nichols & Tully Twenty Below Act I: What the blazes is that to you?
[US]O. Strange Sudden 109: Where the blazes is the body?
[Aus]X. Herbert Capricornia (1939) 30: Well why the blazes haven’t you been down?
[UK]G. Gibson Enemy Coast Ahead (1955) 168: Why the blazes [...] didn’t they put a large force on the factory the first night.
[US]W.R. Burnett Asphalt Jungle in Four Novels (1984) 267: What the blazes are you doing out there?
[Aus]‘Nino Culotta’ They’re a Weird Mob (1958) 13: How difficult it is for the foreigner, who has learned good English from books, to understand what the blazes they are yapping about!
[UK]Willans & Searle Complete Molesworth (1985) 279: You do not need to [...] ask what the blazes the two cissies are doing.
[US]T. Williams Night of the Iguana Act I: What in blazes is this?
[UK]P. Barnes Ruling Class I iii: If my nephew’s bonkers, why the blazes did you let him out?
[Aus]S. Gore Holy Smoke 31: And what the blazes is crawlin’ on you?
[US]Fantastic Four Annual 40: What in blazes are you lookin’ so all-fired grim about?
[US]G.V. Higgins Patriot Game (1985) 17: What in blazes are you doing here?
[Ire]J. O’Connor Salesman 342: Who the blazes is Marge?
[UK]D. Mitchell Black Swan Green 255: Where in blazes did you three clowns get to?
[UK]Independent 2 June 24/4: What the blazes?