bad blood: Idiom Meaning and Origin

What does ‘bad blood’ mean?

According to my extensive research, the idiom "bad blood" refers to a longstanding feeling of hostility or resentment between people or groups. It suggests that there is a negative history or unresolved conflict that taints their relationship.

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Bad blood is a phrase that has been used in English for many years. It describes a strong and deep hostility or animosity between people or groups. Bad blood refers to a negative or unhealthy state within a relationship or situation. It often represents a long-standing conflict or tension between two parties.

The idiom "bad blood" has its origins in the medieval belief about the quality and health of one's blood affecting their temperament and overall well-being. This belief, known as the theory of the four humors, suggested that an imbalance of bodily fluids could lead to psychological or physical problems. Having "bad blood" was believed to cause anger, aggression, or bitterness.

As time passed, the meaning of "bad blood" expanded to not only represent a physical condition but also an emotional state. It became a metaphor for deep-seated enmity or hostility between individuals or groups. The idiom implies that there is a fundamental disagreement or conflict that is not easily resolved or forgotten.

The phrase "bad blood" can be found in various contexts, including personal relationships, business disputes, and political conflicts. In personal relationships, it often refers to long-standing grudges or resentments between individuals that stem from past conflicts or betrayals. In business, it can describe bitter rivalries between competing companies or colleagues, resulting in a hostile or tense work environment. In politics, the idiom is frequently used to describe the animosity between political parties or individuals.

An example of the usage of "bad blood" can be seen in the works of William Shakespeare. In his play Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare writes, "From ancient grudge break to new mutiny, where civil blood makes civil hands unclean." This line illustrates the deep-rooted discord and feud between the Montague and Capulet families, which ultimately leads to a tragic outcome.

Their deep-rooted animosity turned into a bitter feud.

"Bad blood" continues to be a commonly used phrase in contemporary language, particularly in informal conversations. It serves as a way to express the intensity and complexity of long-standing conflicts or tensions, highlighting the difficulty of resolving or reconciling such disputes. The idiom embodies the notion that once enmity is established, it becomes deeply ingrained and hard to overcome.

The idiomatic expression "bad blood" can be related to several other idioms, such as "hard feelings," "rotten egg," "bone of contention," "bad company," and "can't stand." These idioms are all used to describe negative emotions, conflict, or a negative relationship between people. They share a common theme of animosity or hostility.

"Hard feelings" refers to lingering resentment or anger between individuals. It implies that there is emotional tension or animosity present in their relationship. Similarly, the idiom "rotten egg" represents someone who is unpleasant or untrustworthy, often causing discord or conflict.

"Bone of contention" is an idiom used to describe a topic or issue that causes ongoing disagreement or conflict between individuals or groups. It signifies a source of contention or dispute, contributing to a negative relationship.

The phrase "bad company" refers to the negative influence of being associated with people who have a bad reputation or engage in questionable activities. It implies that being in the company of such individuals can lead to conflict or trouble.

"Can't stand" is an idiom used to express a strong dislike or aversion towards someone or something. It conveys a strong negative sentiment and suggests a strained or hostile relationship.

These idioms are related to "bad blood" as they all describe negative emotions, conflicts, or unhealthy relationships. They further emphasize the difficulties and complexities associated with resolving or reconciling such situations.

Example usage

Examples of how the idiom "bad blood" can be used in a sentence:

  1. There has always been bad blood between those two families.
  2. After their heated argument, there is now bad blood between the two coworkers.
  3. The divorce left a lot of bad blood between the ex-spouses.

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