What does “bad blood” mean?

Explore the meaning and psychological aspects of Bad Blood, a metaphorical expression for toxic relationships and conflicts. Learn how to resolve and overcome ill feelings and resentment.

Understanding “Bad Blood”

At its core, “Bad Blood” is an idiom that refers to feelings of animosity, resentment, or ill feeling between two parties.

The origins of this phrase can be traced back to the early 19th century, with versions such as “ill blood” preceding it.

According to the American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms, the term is based on the old association with blood and emotion, particularly anger.

It is a metaphorical expression that conveys the idea of a toxic relationship or a conflict that has escalated to a crisis point.

Origins and Dictionary Definition

The phrase “Bad Blood” has been used for centuries in both British and American English, with slightly different meanings in each.

The Cambridge Dictionary defines it as “feelings of hate between people because of arguments in the past”, while Merriam-Webster describes it as “ill feeling : bitterness”.

The term has also been used in literature, with Charles Lamb among the first to use the idiom in its current form in an 1823 essay.

Psychological Aspects

The concept of “Bad Blood” has psychological aspects, as it is often associated with negative emotions such as anger, hatred, and resentment.

These emotions can have a profound impact on a person’s mental and emotional well-being, and can also affect their relationships with others.

In some cases, “Bad Blood” can lead to a breakdown in communication and a breakdown in the relationship itself.

Social and Interpersonal Dynamics

“Bad Blood” can occur in any social or interpersonal context, from a conflict between two individuals to a feud between two families in a tribal culture.

It can stem from differences in opinions or beliefs, a fight or argument, or even a perceived slight or insult.

The dynamics of “Bad Blood” can be complex, with elders and other members of the community often involved in negotiations to resolve the conflict.

Are “Bad Blood” and “Old Habits Die Hard” Similar Idioms with Negative Connotations?

Both “Bad Blood” and “Old Habits Die Hard” are idioms with negative connotations.

While “Bad Blood” refers to a long-standing feeling of ill will between people or groups, the meaning of “Old Habits Die Hard” relates to the difficulty of giving up long-standing behaviors or practices.

Conflict and Resolution

When “Bad Blood” reaches a crisis point, it can be difficult to resolve.

However, there are steps that can be taken to try and resolve the conflict.

These can include talking openly and honestly about the issues at hand, seeking the help of a mediator or counselor, or simply giving each other space and time to cool down.

Ultimately, resolving “Bad Blood” requires a willingness to listen, understand, and work towards a solution that benefits both parties.

Synonyms of “Bad Blood” include ill feeling, dislike, disdain, and resentment.

Example sentences:

  • The two former friends had “Bad Blood” after a disagreement over money.
  • The “Bad Blood” between the two families had been simmering for years, but it finally came to a head at the wedding.
  • The negotiations were tense, but in the end, they were able to resolve their “Bad Blood” and come to a peaceful agreement.