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Re: Blue devils

Posted by Victoria S Dennis on February 07, 2010 at 08:25

In Reply to: Blue devils posted by ESC on February 06, 2010 at 20:15:

: Thought this might be of interest. I am transcribing a 1870 letter from a Kentucky native writing from Iowa to the folks back home. The term "blue devils" was used.

: Previous discussion:
: http://www.phrases.org.uk/bulletin_board/28/messages/371.html

That's not surprising. "Blue devil" meaning "despondency, depression of spirits, hypochondriac melancholy" has been used in English at least since the 1780s, and in the sense "the apparitions seen in delirium tremens" since the 1820s. In which sense was it used in your letter? (VSD)