Also found in: Thesaurus, Idioms.
tr.v. blessed or blest (blĕst), bless·ing, bless·esIdiom:
1. To make holy by religious rite; sanctify: The clergy blessed the site for the new monastery.
2. To invoke divine favor upon: The bishop blessed the fishing fleet.
3. To make the sign of the cross over: She knelt and blessed herself.
4. To honor as holy; glorify: Bless the Lord.
5. To confer well-being or prosperity on: They were blessed with a baby girl.
6. To endow, as with talent: He was blessed with a photographic memory.
Used to wish good health to a person who has just sneezed.
[Middle English blessen, from Old English blētsian, to consecrate; see bhel- in Indo-European roots.]
Word History: The verb bless comes from Old English blœ̄dsian, blēdsian, blētsian, "to bless, wish happiness, consecrate." Although the Old English verb has no cognates in any other Germanic language, it can be shown to derive from the Germanic noun *blōdan, "blood." Blœ̄dsian therefore originally meant "to consecrate with blood, sprinkle with blood." In many cultures, the blood of a sacrificed animal is thought to hallow and bring blessings upon the people and places that it touches. In the Biblical book of Exodus, for example, God punishes the Egyptians by killing the first-born son in every family, but the Israelites are able to protect their own houses from divine wrath by sprinkling the blood of a sacrificed lamb on their lintels and doorposts. The Angles, Saxons, and Jutes, the early Germanic migrants to Britain, would have originally used the verb blœ̄dsian for the consecrations effected by their own pagan sacrifices. After they converted to Christianity, however, blœ̄dsian acquired new meanings when it was used to translate the verb benedīcere, "to bless" in the Latin Bible.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
someone who blesses
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014