It’s a special Halloween edition of Grammar Party. In the spirit of all things bloody and gory, we’re going to take a look at some of the most popular English idioms involving blood. I hope it doesn’t make your blood curdle!
a blood brother: a man who has promised to treat another man as his brother, often in a ceremony in which they cut themselves and mix their blood together[i]
Example: The zombie and the vampire were so close that they were blood brothers.
bad blood: feelings of hate between people because of arguments in the past[ii]
Example: After the vampire stole the zombie’s girlfriend, they had bad blood.
be somebody’s (own) flesh and blood: to be someone’s relative[iii]
Example: Even though Zombie Guy Jr. was Mr. Zombie Guy’s flesh and blood, Mr. Zombie Guy still treated him poorly.
be in the/your blood: if an ability or a skill is in someone’s blood, they have it naturally, usually because it already exists in their family or is a tradition of their social group[iv]
Example: The zombie’s father ate people. His grandfather ate people. You could say eating people was in his blood.
be out for blood: if you are out for blood, you are determined to find someone to attack or blame for something[v]
Example: After the vampire stole the zombie’s girlfriend, the zombie was out for blood.
blood and guts: violence shown on television, film, or in the theater, where people are seen being injured or killed[vi]
Example: Eat the Humans was the zombie’s favorite video game because it had a lot of blood and guts.
blood is thicker than something: family relationships are stronger and more important than something else[vii]
Example: Even though Mr. Zombie Guy was angry at his son, he realized that blood is thicker than water, and he overcame his anger.
(make) your blood run cold: to be very frightened[viii]
Example: The vampire startled the zombie so greatly that he made the zombie’s blood run cold.
blood, sweat, and tears: a lot of effort and suffering[ix]
Example: The zombie could tell by the level of the vampire’s craftsmanship that he put his blood, sweat, and tears into building his new torture device.
curdle someone’s blood: to frighten or disgust someone severely[x]
Example: The horror movie scared the zombie so much that it made his blood curdle.
get blood from a stone: to do something very difficult[xi]
Example: Zombie Guy Jr. wanted to make amends with his father, but that was like trying to get blood from a stone.
have someone’s blood on one’s hands: to be responsible for someone’s death; to be guilty of causing someone’s death[xii]
Example: After the zombie went on his murderous rampage, he had blood on his hands.
in cold blood: if you do something, especially kill someone, in cold blood, you do it in a way which is cruel because you plan it and do it without emotion[xiii]
Example: Unlike the zombie, who killed with reckless abandon, the vampire planned his murders and killed in cold blood.
new blood: new members brought into a group to revive it[xiv]
Example: The zombie was relieved there was new blood in his Overeaters Anonymous group.
too rich for someone’s blood: too expensive for one’s budget[xv]
Example: The vampire was eyeing a new cape, but it was too rich for his blood.