From Middle English blee, ble (colour, hue), from Old English blēo, bleoh (colour, hue, complexion, form), from Proto-Germanic *blīwą (colour, blee", also "light, glad), from Proto-Indo-European *bʰley-, *bʰlew- (light, pleasant, fair (of weather)). Cognate with Scots ble, blee, blie (colour, complexion), Old Frisian blī, blie ("colour, hue, complexion"; > North Frisian bläy), Old Saxon blī (colour, hue, complexion), Old High German blīo(h) (colour, hue), blīo (metallic lead) (German Blei), Danish bly (lead), Icelandic blý (lead). Perhaps related to Old English blīþe ("joyous") (whence blithe). See also bly.



blee (countable and uncountable, plural blees)

  1. (rare, usually poetic) Colour, hue.
    • 1931, Padraic Colum, "Before The Fair" in Lascelles Abercrombie, New English poems: a miscellany of contemporary verse never before published:
      [...] "Live," "live," and "Here," "here," the blackbird / From the top of the bare ash-tree,/ Over the acres whistles / With beak of yellow blee. [...]
    • 1920, Anonymous, "To Marie" in Carolyn Wells, The Book of Humorous Verse:
      When the breeze from the bluebottle's blustering blim/Twirls the toads in a tooroomaloo,/And the whiskery whine of the wheedlesome whim/Drowns the roll of the rattatattoo,/Then I dream in the shade of the shally-go-shee,/And the voice of the bally-molay/Brings the smell of stale poppy-cods blummered in blee/From the willy-wad over the way. [...]
    • 1885, Sir Richard Burton, The Book of the Thousand Nights and One Night, vol. 1:
      [...] Thereupon sat a lady bright of blee, with brow beaming brilliancy, the dream of philosophy, whose eyes were fraught with Babel's gramarye and her eyebrows were arched as for archery. [...]
    • 1850, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, The poems of Elizabeth Barrett Browning:
      Then the captain, young Lord Leigh, with his eyes so grey of blee, — Toll slowly.
  2. Complexion.
  3. Form, texture, consistency.
    • 1898, Algernon Charles Swinburne, The Heptalogia:
      [...] I am thrilled half cosmically through by cryptophantic surgings / Till the rhythmic hills roar silent through a spongious kind of blee [...]
  4. General resemblance, likeness; aspect, appearance, look.
    • Robert Forby
      That boy has a strong blee of his father.


Related termsEdit