Week of January 8, 2023

This Week is the Site’s Blue Period


The term “blue blood” has some unfortunate racist baggage. It is derived literally from “sangre azul,” a term previously used for the old aristocratic families of Castile whose veins were visible under pale skin because they had not mixed with the Moors, Jews, or other darker-complexion groups of middle-ages Spain.


A steadfastly loyal or dedicated person is “true blue” because the 17th-century fabric dyers of Coventry, England were known for using blue dye which didn’t fade with washing, staying “true” or “fast.” Over time, the saying “True as Coventry blue” was shortened to just “true blue.”


“Blue Monday,” which is the third Monday in January, is supposedly the saddest day of the year, since it is in the middle of the dark, cold winter, the holiday fun is over, but the holiday bills are starting to arrive.


All blue-eyed people are descended from a single individual who experienced a mutation that caused his or her descendants to have less melanin in their eyes, making them appear lighter. This person lived in Europe between 6,000 and 10,000 years ago.


The blue whale is not just the largest creature to live on Earth now, but the largest ever known to have lived on Earth.


The phrase “between the devil and the deep blue sea” derives from translations from other phrases which also indicate choosing between two awful options, including “between damnation and drowning,” “between the devil and the Dead Sea,” “between the sledgehammer and the anvil,” and “a precipice in front, wolves behind.” By some accounts, “the devil” describes a the area “between the deck planking and the topmost plank of the ship’s side,” or a deck’s edge, still a dangerous place.


99 years ago, the “Feather River Bulletin” of Quincy, California, declared “If we may call professions and office positions white collar jobs, we may call the trades blue collar jobs.” Blue denim, dungarees, and lighter gingham fabric had long been preferred among manual laborers for their durability, not to mention that darker colors didn’t show stains as readily and thus needed less washing.