Pronunciation Noun


  1. An act of blushing; a red glow on the face caused by shame, modesty, etc.
    • c. 1590, William Shakespeare, Henry VI, Part 3, Act III, Scene 3,
      Why, Warwick, canst thou speak against thy liege,
      Whom thou obeyed’st thirty and six years,
      And not bewray thy treason with a blush?
    • 1749, Henry Fielding, The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling, Book 9, Chapter 7,
      […] when he perceived her industriously avoiding any explanation, he was contented to remain in ignorance, the rather as he was not without suspicion that there were some circumstances which must have raised her blushes, had she related the whole truth.
    • 1813, Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice, Volume III, Chapter I,
      Their eyes instantly met, and the cheeks of each were overspread with the deepest blush.
    • 1925, Virginia Woolf, Mrs Dalloway,
      It was a sudden revelation, a tinge like a blush which one tried to check and then, as it spread, one yielded to its expansion […]
  2. A glow; a flush of colour, especially pink or red.
    • 1809, Washington Irving, Knickerbocker’s History of New York, Chapter 4,
      And now the rosy blush of morn began to mantle in the east, and soon the rising sun, emerging from amidst golden and purple clouds, shed his blithesome rays on the tin weathercocks of Communipaw.
    • 1968, “Light on Light,” Time, 10 August, 1968,[,9171,902202,00.html]
      Each painting consists of a white aluminum disk, sprayed at the edges with a subtle blush of blue, pink or grey.
  3. (figuratively) Feeling or appearance of optimism.
    • 1974, “April's Fading Carnation,” Time, 9 September, 1974,[,9171,904100,00.html]Superscript text
      The independence ceremony could not keep the blush of April's revolution, when carnations had seemed to sprout from every buttonhole, from fading.
    • 2016, David McKay, “AngloGold to fire up dividend in 2017 as net debt cut a third,”, 15 August, 2016,
      The weakening of local currencies – in Argentina, Australia and Brazil – gave a blush to the financial numbers. (As a whole, all-in sustaining costs (AISC) improved to an average of $911/oz compared with the $924/oz recorded in the first half of 2015).
  4. (uncountable, countable) A sort of makeup, frequently a powder, used to redden the cheeks.
    Synonyms: blusher, rouge
    • 2016, Sana Passricha, “Keep or Toss: The Shelflife of Your Beauty Treasures,” iDIVA, 22 July, 2016,
      The same rules that apply to face powder apply to powder blush, since neither contains water. Cream blush, however, should be replaced after a year. To prolong the life of any blush, clean your blush brush regularly and store the product in a dry place.
  5. A color between pink and cream.
    • 2006, Kate Betts, “What to Watch For in 2006,” Time, 9 January, 2006,[,9171,1145240,00.html]
      Makeup colors like ivory and blush dominate spring collections and have even infiltrated Burberry's shoes.
  6. (chiefly, US) A pale pink wine made by removing the dark grape skins at the required point during fermentation.
    Synonyms: blush wine, rosé
    • 2016, Mishkah Abrahams, “Blush or Rosé? The Cape's Best Summer Drink,”, 29 September, 2016,
      If you’re looking to indulge in some good food while you sip your blush, pair the Chardonnay-Pinot Noir with fresh, summer foods such as sushi, refreshing salads, delicious seafood and fruity summertime desserts.
Translations Translations
  • French: fard, fard à joues, blush
  • German: Rouge
  • Italian: fard
  • Portuguese: blush
  • Russian: румя́на
  • Spanish: colorete, arrebol
  • German: Pastellrosa, Lachs, Lachsfarbe, Lachsrosa

blush (blushes, present participle blushing; past and past participle blushed)

  1. (intransitive) To become red in the face (and sometimes experience an associated feeling of warmth), especially due to shyness, shame, excitement, or embarrassment.
    Synonyms: go red
    The love scene made him blush to the roots of his hair / to the tips of his ears.
    He wasn't used to this much attention, so he blushed as he saw dozens of pairs of eyes watching him.
    • 1611, King James Version of the Bible, Book of Jeremiah 6.15,
      […] they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush:
    • 1667, John Milton, Paradise Lost, Book 7, lines 1147-1148,
      To the Nuptial Bowre
      I led her blushing like the Morn:
    • 1748, Samuel Richardson, Clarissa, London: for the author, Volume 4, Letter 41, p. 233,
      I wonder whether they [women] ever blush at those things by themselves, at which they have so charming a knack of blushing in company.—If not; and if blushing be a sign of grace or modesty, have not the sex as great a command over their blushes, as they are said to have over their tears?
    • 1880, Henry James, Washington Square (novel), Chapter 14,
      Mrs. Montgomery brushed away her tears, and blushed at having shed them.
    • 1912, Stratemeyer Syndicate, Baseball Joe on the School Nine Chapter 1
      But Tommy was bashful, and the attention he had thus drawn upon himself made him blush. He was a timid lad and he shrank away now, evidently fearing Shell.
  2. (intransitive, figuratively) To be ashamed or embarrassed (to do something).
    • 1713, Joseph Addison, Cato (play), London: J. Tonson, Act IV, Scene 1, p. 53,
      While Cato lives, Caesar will blush to see
      Mankind enslaved, and be ashamed of Empire.
    • 1849, Henry Bibb, Narrative of the Life and Adventures of Henry Bibb, An American Slave, New York: for the author, Chapter 6, p. 50,
      He never blushed to rob a slave mother of her children, no matter how young or small.
    • 1908, Jack London, The Iron Heel, Chapter 17, footnote,
      […] in this enlightened age, we have much to blush for in the acts of our ancestors.
  3. (intransitive) To become red.
    • circa 1596 William Shakespeare, King John (play), Act V, Scene 5,
      The sun of heaven, methought, was loth to set,
      But stayed, and made the western welkin blush,
  4. (transitive) To suffuse with a blush; to redden; to make rosy.
    • circa 1590 William Shakespeare, Henry VI, Part 2, Act III, Scene 2,
      [the ghost] with the heart there cools and ne’er returneth
      To blush and beautify the cheek again.
  5. (transitive) To change skin color in the face (to a particular shade).
    When he saw it, he blushed a beet red.
    I wasn't surprised, but it was embarrassing enough that I blushed a little pink.
    • 1863, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, “The Poet’s Tale: The Birds or Killingworth” in Tales of a Wayside Inn, Boston: Ticknor & Fields, p. 202,
      A few lost leaves blushed crimson with their shame,
      And drowned themselves despairing in the brook,
    • 1969, Margaret Atwood, The Edible Woman, Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 2010, Chapter 8,
      […] she […] blushed a warm and genuine-looking pink.
  6. (transitive) To express or make known by blushing.
    Looking at me with a knowing glare, she blushed her discomfort with the situation.
    • circa 1610 William Shakespeare, The Winter's Tale, Act IV, Scene 4,
      I’ll blush you thanks.
    • 1891, Thomas Hardy, Tess of the D'Urbervilles, Phase the Fourth, Chapter 25,
      The windows smiled, the door coaxed and beckoned, the creeper blushed confederacy.
    • 1978, Lawrence Durrell, Livia (novel), London: Faber & Faber, 1981, Chapter 5, p. 134,
      “I can see you you yawning and stretching, Felix—not very polite.” Felix sprang to attention, metaphorically speaking, and blushed his apologies.
  7. (intransitive) To have a warm and delicate colour, like some roses and other flowers.
    The garden was full of blossoms that blushed in myriad shades to form a beautiful carpet of color.
    • 1751, Thomas Gray, Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard, London: R. Dodsley, p. 8,
      Full many a Flower is born to blush unseen,
      And waste its Sweetness on the desart Air.
    • 1847, Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre, Chapter 26,
      […] lanes which last night blushed full of flowers, to-day were pathless with untrodden snow;
    • 1899, Alice Dunbar Nelson, “The Fisherman of Pass Christian” in The Goodness of St. Rocque and Other Stories,
      Natalies pink bonnet blushed in the early sunshine […]
  8. (intransitive, obsolete) To glance with the eye, cast a glance.
Synonyms Translations Noun

blush (plural blushes)

  1. The collective noun for a group of boys.
    A blush of boys.
    • 1962, Bette Davis, The Lonely Life: An Autobiography, New York: Putnam, Chapter 3, p. 46,
      I took the Red Cross senior lifesaving test, the one girl in a blush of boys taking the course.
    • 2001, Jamie O'Neill, At Swim, Two Boys, London: Simon & Schuster UK, 2002, p. 322,
      He had come with his own blush of boys. All afternoon they had shimmered upon the lawns.

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