I'm familiar with the expression to feel blue, but I recently stumbled upon the expression to go blue on two different websites in one week.

Vork from The Guild goes a bit blue

Source: http://blogtown.portlandmercury.com/BlogtownPDX/archives/2011/03/24/in-which-i-discuss-the-topic-of-web-series-with-my-head-on-my-desk

The second site:

Our panel from ECCC last weekend. It went a bit blue. Thanks Wil Wheaton, hehe.

Source: http://felicia.posterous.com/eccc-11-the-guild-panel-part-1

Usually I can track down the meaning of expressions myself, but since Google isn't being very helpful I'm turning to you guys. I'd also like to know if this expression is used widely across the English-speaking world or if its use is limited to certain regions.

(Please forgive me if my English isn't flawless... I'm a 19-year-old non-native speaker.)


5 Answers 5


This is in reference to a 'blue movie', a euphemistic term for a pornographic film.

It has since been toned down somewhat and phrases like a bit of blue can be used to say that something is 'adult' in nature. Often this includes dealing with sexual material but doesn't necessarily mean visually pornographic; a comedian who tells jokes with a sexual theme could be called 'a bit blue'.

going a bit blue then would mean that the programme/character in question is normally 'clean' but has begun to include more adult themes.

It would appear that the term has been used thus since the early 1800s, originating in Scotland, though a clear connection between the colour and the connotation has not been settled on.

N.B.: Bolton comedian Peter Kay is famous in England and well known for his family friendly stand up material. In his shows he will occasionally tell a joke with some sort of subtle sexual reference or other 'adult' theme and then follow the joke by saying 'a bit of blue for the dads there'.

  • It can also be used in the sense that much profanity is used, not necessarily sexual in nature.
    – Mitch
    Apr 9, 2011 at 14:27
  • Since the term has been in use since the 1800's I'm not sure how the etymology of being a reference to a "blue movie" holds up. It sounds like "blue movie" was named thus because "blue" was already a term for such content. Sep 24, 2018 at 13:42

"Blue" humor is a type of humor that is dirty and offensive. So if a performance or public event "goes blue", it means that much of the humor is profane.

From Wikipedia:

Blue comedy is comedy that is off-color, risqué, indecent or profane, largely about sex. It often contains profanity and/or sexual imagery that may shock and offend some audience members.

"Working blue" refers to the act of performing this type of material. A "blue comedian" or "blue comic" is a comedian who usually performs blue, or is known mainly for his or her blue material. Blue comedians often find it difficult to succeed in mainstream media. Topical musicians may use blue comedy both in their commentary between songs and in the lyrics to their songs.


When applied to a person, usually to go blue is an idiom that is used for the couple of facial expressions where oxygenated blood drains from the face, leaving the pallor of the face blue; what comes to mind for me are the emotions of embarrassment, shock, and exhausted anger. If someone had told you in the middle of a birthday party your brother had died, at the ripe old age of 24 years, it wouldn't remiss for an observer to describe your face "as going blue" retelling the story of your receiving the news.

Some example sentences:

She went blue at the news that she was being fired from her job of 30+ years with no severance and 1 week notice.

You can stamp and yell and go blue in the face all you want, but you're not still getting an Illudium Q-36 Explosive Space Modulator for Christmas.

After spending $10,000 on an engagement ring, her boyfriend went blue at her unexpected rejection of his marriage proposal.

Unfortunately, the sources you link here seem to be using to go blue in a bizarre sense I have never seen before. I thought at the first the second source might correspond to this idiom, since a commenter there writes something like "nonsense...you went red", which is definitely an identifiable idiom for being embarrassed, but her reply comment seems to disagree with his interpretation. I wasn't about to watch the whole video and watch "close-ups" to gauge her blueness as she wanted, either.

  • +1 because, though the other answers on this page nail the meaning for the contexts in the question, this meaning is also valid, and may be useful to future users searching for this expression :)
    – psmears
    May 30, 2011 at 16:26

Something being blue in these contexts means that there are references of a sexual nature.

In the "Vork from The Guild goes a bit blue" link, there are clips where sexual references are made.

The second link, to the panel with Felicia Day, starts out with Felicia explaining that a drawing that Wil Wheaton has made is of a penis. There might be more, I haven't watched the rest.

This goes back to blue being a term for a lewd incident: http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=blue

Also see the 19th definition of blue here: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/blue


'Going Blue' is a phrase used often during USA national election news coverage to describe a state which has voted or is in the process of voting for Democrat Congressional and Presidential candidates. The phrase comes from the colors used on TV graphics to denote such states. A state which has voted for Republican candidates is described as 'going red'.

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