color terms

William Schmidt wrschmidt at
Fri Aug 27 13:26:13 UTC 1999

At 12:15 AM 8/25/99 -0400, you wrote:

[ moderator snip ]

>My point of course was that a 'blueman' might have nothing to do with blue.
>Not as easy a point to make as I might have thought.

In fact, "blue" can also mean sad, as in, e.g., "He is blue," or
exasperated, as in e.g., "He talked until he was blue in the face."
Moreover, Old Norse "bla" meant livid, synonomous with mad.

Consequently, there are reasons for believing that people applied blue
pigments to their faces in antiquity to indicate madness.


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