Blue blazes

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9 comments on this post.
  1. Abhishek Roy:

    Came across this site by accident or say by serendipity but loving it.The origin of limelight was awesome.Never had a clue about that.

  2. John:

    Your response ignores the maritime connection of the term, specifically that from Melville.


  3. Dena Gray:

    I wonder at the possible connection to the blue flames in Romania, once rumored to be connected to unholy ground but now known otherwise:

    1. Living Fires in Lopatari, Buzau County

    The Living Fires (Focurile Vii in Romanian) can be found in the Romanian village of Lopatari, Buzau County, in Slanicului Valley, 56 km away from Buzau city. Living Fires can be as high as 20 cm and represent a natural phenomenon unique in Europe. They are blue flames burning in places where the soil is cracked and kept alive because of the gas that comes to surface.

  4. sqeptiq:

    Interesting that on major trails like the Appalachian Trail, the trail is marked by white blazes on trees, rocks, etc., while side trails or connectors are marked with blue blazes. When one is off the main trail, one is “blue blazing.” Another use of the term is when traveling by boat on a river or lake instead of following the white blazed trail, one is said to be blue blazing.

  5. deadbrainwalking:

    Bleu was frequently used as a substitute for Dieu in French curse phrases, particularly when the phrase was offensive. The most well-known being sacrebleu, which would mean sacred [God]. In common English parlance we use all manner of substitutions like jeez, or sadly heard sometimes we’ve got Cheese and Crackers. Haha Blue is used in some other curse phrases like “what in the blue hell” or “blue f—“, so I’m wondering if the usage of the word blue in curse phrases was adopted from the French portion of the English language. Just a thought.

  6. Frank Peter Polanowski:

    Isn’t the “blue” part of a gas flame the hottest part?

  7. Tom:

    Sulphur burns blue. “Fire and brimstone (brimstone being an old term for sulphur) has long been used to refer to Hell or Hellfire. Since “blue blazes” is generally a euphemism for Hell, my guess is that’s more than a coincidence.

  8. Christopher Bradley:

    Sulphur burns blue, so blue blazes – the fires of hell.

  9. Stephen Verchinski:

    The Connecticut Forest and Parks Association which I frequented as a kid was a purveyor of the guidebook to the trails in Connecticut. Those off the Appalachian trail definitely were blue blazed but, and this is a key point, so were all the trails that were independent of the Appalachian. In fact, the CFPA is one of the oldest such associations in the nation. I always felt, being a pragmatic and civil yankee and not a puritanical bostonian type that the going to the blue blazes meant to me that if someone was angry at something or someone that you would tell them, instead of the expletive, “Fxxk off” or “Go to hell”, you might want your fellow citizen to cool off and reconsider their position of anger and animosity. So, you might be wanting them to cool off and think about things, maybe by taking a hike out into the woods. Hence you tell them “Why don’t you just go to the blue blazes?”

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