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Posted by ESC on June 13, 2000

In Reply to: Phrase: Blowing someone off posted by Bob on June 13, 2000

: : I posted this question two months ago and didn't get a response. It is not on the search the archives of the discussion group anymore either.

: : This is a phrase I hear more and more in public in America. I want to know how it meaning has totally changed in the last twenty years, when you could say such a thing in public. I'm sick of hearing it.

: While public discourse has gotten immeasurably more vulgar, this particular phrase is not guilty. Think of blowing dust off a book, or blowing off a feather that lands on your shoulder. This is the sense of lightly getting rid of someone of no importance. Discarding a person not worthy of your attention. (Come to think of it, that IS vulgar.)

Page on down to 5/26/00 on this page. Here's my response...
I believe you're talking about two different kinds of "blow." There's the old use of the term "blow" for oral copulation. And the young ones still use that, as in the insult "blow me." Or "blow job." Or "that blows," meaning "that sucks."

But, and here's where I'm guessing, "blowing someone off" (ignoring someone or dropping him or her socially) takes its meaning from phrases like "giving him the brush off" and "blow off/blow off his doors -- In racing, to pass a challenger." (From "Slang" by Paul Dickson) Or from a really old insult, "Make like a horn and blow." Meaning to leave.