October 13th, 2019

words 6

Sunday Word: Blithe

blithe [blahyth, blahyth ]
1 Happy or carefree, of a lighthearted character or disposition

2 Showing a casual and cheerful indifference considered to be callous or improper


His blithe self-assurance made me wonder whether I had somehow gone to sleep in the wrong bed. (Yu Hua, As The North Wind Howled, New Yorker, 2018)

This blithe comic remake of a crackpot science-fiction thriller just might be the best theory yet about the bizarre political events in Washington DC these last few years. Long answer short: tiny alien bugs have taken control of the politicians. (Craig Mathieson, Nothing on TV? Stream these overlooked and classic shows over the summer break, Sydney Morning Herald, 2017)

Housed in Finnish architect Eero Saarinen’s landmarked 1962 TWA Flight Center at JFK International Airport, the forthcoming TWA Hotel is an homage to the midcentury era of Jet Age optimism—and blithe indifference. (Aileen Kwun, The Problem With Fetishizing Midcentury Modernism, Fast Company, 2018)

Her anger had a good effect, however, for she hid it under a smiling face, and seemed unusually blithe and brilliant. (Louisa May Alcott, Little Women)

Yet we have a great deal to make us glad, and just now I feel as blithe as a bird. (Martha Finley, The Thorn in the Nest)


Before 1000; Middle English; Old English blīthe; cognate with Old Norse blīthr, Old High German blīdi, Gothic bleiths (Dictionary.com)

Old English bliþe 'joyous, kind, cheerful, pleasant,' from Proto-Germanic blithiz 'gentle, kind' (source also of Old Saxon bliði 'bright, happy,' Middle Dutch blide, Dutch blijde, Old Norse bliðr 'mild, gentle,' Old High German blidi 'gay, friendly,' Gothic bleiþs 'kind, friendly, merciful').

No cognates outside Germanic. The earlier application was to the outward expression of kindly feeling, sympathy, affection to others, as in Gothic and ON.; but in OE. the word had come more usually to be applied to the external manifestation of one's own pleased or happy frame of mind, and hence even to the state itself (Online Etymology Dictionary)