What is the meaning and origin of "blue-blood"?

When you say that someone has blue-blood running in his veins what you mean is that he comes from a royal family. He is a person of high or noble birth.

Here are few examples: •

• Sabrina is a blue-blooded aristocrat.

• Don't be crazy. There's no blue-blood running in her veins.

"Wanted, tall, fair, slim girl for...." Ring a bell? That's what you normally find in the matrimonial section these days. Such ads often upset a lot of people. They say that this world is very color conscious. Well, I have news for them. People all over the world are color conscious. "Blue blood" is actually a translation of the Spanish term "sangre azul".

At one time, the Moors (people of the Arab race) ruled over much of Spain. The Moors were dark complexioned and during the seven centuries that they ruled Spain, a lot of interracial marriages took place. But the Spanish aristocrats who lived in Castile did not intermarry with the Moors. As a result, they remained extremely fair and began to distinguish themselves from their rulers and fellow aristocrats by calling themselves "sangre azul". What they meant by this was that because of their very fair complexion, the veins in their arms looked blue. It was as if blue blood was running in their veins. How vain can one get! Anyway, this term was borrowed by other European countries to describe a nobleman.

In England, the expression was borrowed to refer to prestigious institutions as well. Did you know that universities like Oxford and Cambridge are called "blue brick" universities in England?

COURTESY : The Hindu (The National News-Paper) - India

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