What Does A Blow-By-Blow Account Mean?

A Blow-By-Blow Account Meaning

Definition: Descriptive, detailed, and chronological commentary of an event.

This expression describes anything that is explained in great detail. It is often seen in sports commentary; a sports presenter will give a “blow-by-blow account” of the match so audiences who are not at the game can know what is going on.

The phrase has expanded to describe any description of an event given in such detail that the listener can imagine that he or she were there.

Origin of A Blow-By-Blow Account

blow by blow meaningBlow meaning hard hit is a mid-15th-century word, and it likely comes from the Middle Dutch word blouwen, which means to beat.

In this sense, blow-by-blow was originally used when giving an account of a prizefight, and was first recorded in 1921.

By 1922 we can read in The Wireless Age,

  • Like a hungry kitten loves its saucer of warm milk, so do radio fans joyfully listen to the blow-by-blow broadcast description of a boxing bout.

Examples of A Blow-By-Blow Account

boxing blow by blowWhile originally used in sports, this phrase is now used by modern English speakers to talk about anything in detail.

Greg: Did you hear about Betsy’s car accident?

Susan: Yeah I know all about it. She gave me a blow-by-blow account.

Here is an example dialogue with two friends, one of whom just went on a date,

Sarah: Did you end up going out with Steve last night?

Emily: Yes, we had a great time. I think we will go out again sometime soon.

Sarah: That is great news! Let’s get lunch today; I want to hear all about it. I want a blow-by-blow account of the entire night.

Emily: Okay, how does Chinese sound?

Sarah: Sounds great! Let’s meet downstairs at 12:30.

More Examples

  • Prados offers a good blow-by-blow account of the great naval battle [in his book]. –The Washington Times
  • There was also a citizen who watched the entire incident unfold and was giving dispatchers a blow-by-blow account of the assault. –Branson Tri-Lakes News


A blow-by-blow account is any detailed description of an event. It is usually given to recreate an event for someone who was not there, so one can imagine that one was there.