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From The Great War 1914-1918

Bloody: Most likely the commonest expletive used among the English speaking peoples of the world, and as such it found its place in the language of the war afloat and ashore with universal application. The derivation of the word is understood to go back to the adjuration "By our lady" of the Middle Ages (from Middle English blody, blodi, from Old English blōdiġ, blōdeġ both meaning "bloody"‎), whence it gradually changed into the current expletive through the dramatists of the 17th and 18th Centuries. Shakespeare uses it over 200 times. Dryden and the Restoration Dramatists popularized it, and "Men of refinement and high culture adopted it as an article of scholarly adornment."[1]

References / notes

  1. Edward Fraser and John Gibbons (1925). Soldier and Sailor Words and Phrases. Routledge, London p.27-28.
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