What Does Feeling Blue Mean?

Feeling Blue Meaning

Definition: To be sad.

Origin of Feeling Blue

Many cultures relate various colors to different moods, or assign other symbolic meaning to them. For example, in many English speaking cultures, red can signify anger, black can mean death or evil, white can show purity, and green can represent jealousy or a talent for growing plants.

The use of the color blue to mean sadness goes all the way back to the 1300s. Some sources point to Geoffrey Chaucer as the first author to write the word blue.

He wrote Wyth teres blewe and with a wounded herte in his poem Complaint of Mars from around the year 1385. Nowadays, we would write with tears of blue and a wounded heart. This could mean from its very first appearance, blue was connected with sadness.

A scientific study also showed that people with depression might perceive the color blue more than other colors. Therefore, there may be a scientific reason behind this metaphor.

Examples of Feeling Blue

what does feeling blue meanThe dialogue below shows two women preparing to attend an important event.

Mila: Betty, why aren’t you ready to go? We worked so hard to plan this event. Now that we’re finally done, you seem like you’re not even interested in seeing its success.

Betty: Of course I want to see how well it all turned out, but I’m just not in the mood. As you know, my doctor diagnosed me with depression. I’m having a bad day and don’t feel like I can leave the house.

Mila: Feeling blue is no reason to miss this event!

Betty: It sounds so mild when you say that I’m feeling blue. I’m actually feeling like life is no longer worth living.

feeling blue definitionThis dialogue shows a couple of roommates talking about a sad movie they watched.

John: Maybe it was a bad idea to watch that movie about the little boy dying of a horrible disease right before going to a birthday party.

Amanda: That’s for sure! I have no idea how I’m supposed to act happy after watching that.

John: Maybe we won’t feel so blue after drinking a few beers.

Amanda: I hope so!

More Examples

This excerpt is from an article about sight seeing at a festival lights display around Christmas time.

  • I first took my teenagers five years ago, when we were sorely lacking in Christmas spirit around our house. It was a tough time for me, because the teens were acting sulky and I was feeling blue because no one seemed to care much about Santa’s arrival anymore. –OC Register

The second excerpt is about a play.

  • With stellar performances and inventive technical elements, Tesoro’s “The Drowsy Chaperone” supports the central theme of the musical: Theater is the best cure when you’re feeling blue. –OC Register


The idiom feel blue means to experience emotions of sadness or gloominess.