The post about Blood Orkney had me wondering about the origin of the word "bloody" as a swear word. Some comments:
Bloody is a commonly used expletive attributive (intensifier) in British English. It was used as an intensive since at least the 1670s. Considered "respectable" until about 1750, it was heavily tabooed during c. 1750–1920, considered equivalent to heavily obscene or profane speech. Public use continued to be seen as controversial until the 1960s, but since the later 20th century, the word has become a comparatively mild expletive or intensifier. The word is also used in the same way in Australian English, New Zealand English and in other parts of the Commonwealth or in ex-Commonwealth countries. In American English, the word is uncommon and is seen by American audiences as a stereotypical marker of British English, without any significant obscene or profane connotation.
Bloody is a British swear word that until recent decades was considered highly offensive. This is a bit strange to most Americans, who do not see it as particularly offensive, and to Australians who use it is a staple of their dialect, sort of an all-purpose adjective. The word was so scandalous that the 1914 London opening of George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion will be forever remembered because of the uproar over Eliza Doolittle line “not bloody likely” in the third act. (The 1938 film version of the play was the first British film to use the word.) Like many swear words, the origin is a bit mysterious. No one is certain exactly to what the blood refers.
The Oxford English Dictionary suggests that it derives from a reference to the aristocratic rowdies of the Restoration (i.e., those of noble or aristocratic blood). This is supported by early uses as an intensifier, which are in the form bloody drunk. From G. Etherege’s 1676 Man of Mode:
Not without he will promise to be bloody drunk.
And the poet John Dryden wrote in 1684:
The doughty Bullies enter bloody drunk.
Popular derivations include the belief that it comes from the oath God’s Blood or is a corruption of the phrase By our Lady. Alternately, some suggest it is a reference to menstruation. None of these have any real evidence to support them.
Lexicographer Eric Partridge disagreed with all the above, stating, Partridge’s A Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English, “there is no need for ingenious etymologies: the idea of blood suffices.”
Little Johnny came down to breakfast. His mother asks "What do you want for breakfast Johnny?" Johnny, using a word he heard at school, replies, "Just give me some bloody corn flakes!" His mother, shocked, tells him off soundly and sends him to his room. Johnny's little brother, Timmy, witnesses all of this. His mother looks up at Timmy and asks "Well, what do you want for breakfast?" Timmy says, "I don't know, but I sure as hell don't want no bloody corn flakes!"
Billy was sitting on a park bench eating candy bars. Sitting across from him on another bench is a man. He walks over to Billy and says "Don't you know you're gonna get fat eating that many candy bars?" Billy says "Well my grandpa lived to be one hundred and four." The man said "Really, by eating six candy bars at a time?” Billy shakes his head and says "No, he minded his own bloody business!"