Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Blae - Easily Lead

"Tis a blae May day in Bray today."
(photo by Pushka)

BLAE

Adjective & noun. Scottish & northern. Middle English.
[Old Norse blar (whence also BLO): see BLUE adjective.]

A1 adjective. Blackish-blue; livid; lead-coloured. ME

A2 adjective. Bleak, sunless. E16

B noun. A kind of bluish-grey soft slate. M17

Have you every wondered what the colour of lead is? No? Really? Well, OK, but now that you know that it's blae, you're thinking "Wow! How life-changingly useful!" aren't you? No? Oh. Wow. Well, just so you know, blae is that previously indefinable bluish-blackish-greyish-silvery(ish) colour; it's Scottish, it rhymes with clay, and seeing as it's the predominant colour of the sky over Scotland and Ireland, I dare say it's a jolly useful word to have in one's active vocab.

Do you have a different word for the colour of lead?
(other than leaden, smartypants)

8 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Chromatic is an interesting word - one I'll definitely do in 'C'. However, nothing in its definition signifies a specific colour. Sense (2) and (3) in the OED say "Of or produced by colour" and "Brightly coloured, coloured" respectively.

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  2. Plumbeous!

    (Plumbum is a wonderful old word for lead. I can't think why I haven't featured it on The Word Den. I must, very soon!)

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    1. Plumbeous! Brilliant! I remember my Dad telling me about 'plumbum', and ever after 'Plum Bum' because an acceptable 'swearword' in our house.

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  3. Embarrassingly, all I can focus on in this post is your use of "indefinable." Is there a difference between indefinable and undefinable?

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    1. I don't think so - although undefinable sounds wrong to me (although they're both in the OED). Maybe the difference is inundifinable ... ?

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  4. Ha! Sounds like Oregon in the wintertime. lol I had no idea blae meant leaden, grey or heavy. And I've used it properly all these years! Have a great week!

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    1. Sometimes I look out of the window and say 'Bleugh', but that's hardly the same thing.

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