pl.n. (used with a sing. or pl. verb)
1. A state of depression or melancholy. Often used with the.
2. A style of music that evolved from southern African American secular songs and is usually distinguished by a strong 4/4 rhythm, flatted thirds and sevenths, a 12-bar structure, and lyrics in a three-line stanza in which the second line repeats the first: “The blues is an expression of anger against shame and humiliation” (B.B. King).
[Short for blue devils, a feeling of depression.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
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