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The meaning and origin of the expression: Bloody-minded


What's the meaning of the phrase 'Bloody minded'?

Tiresome, stubborn and obstructive.

What's the origin of the phrase 'Bloody minded'?

There's an earlier meaning, which is now rarely used, which is simply 'intent upon blood and warfare'. The earliest citation of this is in Richard Greene's Gwydonius, 1584:

"I will neither bee so bloudie minded as to breede thy bane."

Shakespeare also used it in King Henry VI, Part III, 1592 :

Thy name affrights me, in whose sound is death.
A cunning man did calculate my birth
And told me that by water I should die:
Yet let not this make thee be bloody-minded;
Thy name is Gaultier, being rightly sounded.

Now breathe we, lords: good fortune bids us pause,
And smooth the frowns of war with peaceful looks.
Some troops pursue the bloody-minded queen,
That led calm Henry, though he were a king,
As doth a sail, fill'd with a fretting gust,
Command an argosy to stem the waves.
But think you, lords, that Clifford fled with them?

Our present use of the phrase is much more recent - 20th century in fact, as here from James Agate, in The Sunday Times, March 1934:

"A man says to a presumed lady, 'What a bloody-minded woman you are!'"

Gary Martin - the author of the website.

By Gary Martin

Gary Martin is a writer and researcher on the origins of phrases and the creator of the Phrase Finder website. Over the past 26 years more than 700 million of his pages have been downloaded by readers. He is one of the most popular and trusted sources of information on phrases and idioms.

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