Paul Frank paulfrank at POST.HARVARD.EDU
Wed Nov 29 13:28:39 UTC 2000

> A couple of years ago, here in Charleston, SC, I was speaking to a
> middle-aged black lady (a patient of mine - I'm a family doctor) and
> asked her about a bump on her knee. "Oh", she said, "I got blessed".
> I asked her what she said, not sure if I had heard it correctly; and
> she looked rather embarrassed and tried to change the subject, but
> eventually admitted that that was what she had said, and that it
> meant she had got injured in a minor way. I asked where it came from
> and if other people used the word, but she didn't have any
> information to offer.
> Tony Glaser

DARE does not have an entry for blessed, though it does have one for
blessing or blessing-out in the sense of scolding or tongue-lashing. You've
probably looked at the OED entry, but just in case you haven't here it is:

† bless, v.2 Obs. Also 4­6 blyss(e, bliss.
[a. F. blesse-r:–OF. blecier to injure, wound: cf. bleche. Often associated
with bless v.1, either humorously or in ignorance. (The sense of the second
quotation is doubtful: cf. bless v.3)]
To wound, hurt; to beat, thrash, drub.
[c1325 Coer de L. 546 Whenne I hym had a strok i-fet, And wolde have blyssyd
hym bet.
c1350 Will. Palerne 1192 [He] blessed so wiÞ his bri_t bront _ aboute in
eche side Þat, what rink so he rau_t _ he ros neuer after.]
1526 Skelton Magnyf. 1641, I have hym coryed, beten and blyst.
1545 R. Ascham Toxoph. (Arb.) 145 As thoughe they woulde tourne about and
blysse all the feelde.
1575 J. Still Gamm. Gurton iii. iii, Tarry, thou knave..I shall make these
hands bless thee.
1577 Hellowes Gueuara’s Fam. Ep. 237 When he did leuell to shoote, he
blessed himselfe with his peece, and killed them with the pellat.
1612 Shelton Quix. I. iii. 173 That of the Battle..when they bless’d your
Worship’s Cheek Teeth.

I'm curious to see a proper answer to your question.

Paul Frank
English translation from German, French,
Chinese, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese
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