"Blue blood" is an English/American idiom that refers to high-class and/or rich people, with the implication of effete arrogance.

Two false theories have been presented to me at various times to explain this:

  • Wealthy people tend to use silver cutlery, and because of all the extra silver that gets into their diet from this, it gives their skin a gray or bluish cast. Now, it is true that too much silver will discolor your skin, but using silverware alone is not enough to do that.
  • Blood inside your body is actually blue, but the reason you never see blue blood come out is that it oxidizes on contact with air and becomes red. This just isn't true. The redness of blood does change based on how much oxygen it is carrying, but it only varies from bright red to dark red.
The term is actually derived directly from the Spanish sangre azul which was used by noble families to indicate pure breeding. Their lighter skin showed its blue veins more clearly than darker skinned peoples like the Moors.

But, you may ask, how come my veins look blue when they are actually clear and my blood is red ?

That question was answered by Lothar Lilge, a physicist at the Ontario Laser and Light Wave Research Center in Toronto. After a series of experiments he discovered that the outer layers of skin reflect diverse wavelengths of light differently. Red light penetrates deeper into out skin than blue light, so the red light makes it into the vein where it is absorbed by the blood. But the blue light gets reflected off the skin above the vein thus giving it a bluish coloring. When no vein is present the red light does not get absorbed and reflects along with the blue.
Some invertebrates have blue blood, too - literally. Oxygen is carried in their blood by a chemical called hemocyanin, similar to the familiar hemoglobin that reddens the blood of vertebrates but containing copper instead of iron.

The best-known example of a blue-blooded animal is the lobster, which is often consumed by aristocratic "blue blooded" humans, giving a bit of credence to the adage "you are what you eat." Others include the horseshoe crab, crayfish, scorpion, octopus, squid, clam and mussel.

When I was a little boy, I used to think our blood was blue. I thought this because in our science books at school, they showed human anatomical diagrams of the red blood flowing directly from the from the lungs and heart, then passing through the arteries and the capillaries then suddenly turning blue, going up through the veins and back to the lungs and heart again. I assumed that half of the blood in our body was blue at any given time, and the only reason why we never see blue blood when we cut ourselves is because blue blood instantly turns red when exposed to oxygen.

Of course, this isn't true, it's just the thinking of a child that didn't understand that the blue blood in the diagram wasn't really blue, it was a representation of lack of oxygen in the blood. This was further visually supported by looking at somebody's varicose veins, which are blue. I eventually was corrected by a science teacher, which is fortunate because I would have made a real fool of myself had I said this in public.


I'm amazed how many people still believe this! After discussing this topic with some of my friends, I noticed that they, too, had made these assumptions and went on with their lives, not noticing that they were miseducated. Maybe it's time for our educational curriculum to make this distinction in science classes, or better yet, it's time for the blue/red blood diagram system to be done away with. Not that it matters a lot, after all unless the student is going into medicine, they'll never be in a situation where they'll know that blood isn't blue. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to turn these pop can tabs in for a kidney transplant.

Blue Blood is the second record release and major label debut of Japanese band X Japan. It is arguably the most influential Asian rock album of all time. A huge majority of contemporary Japanese acts name Blue Blood as the most important rock record in their musical education.

Released in 1989, the album displays a wide variety of musical styles, most prominently the classical education of band leader Yoshiki, combined with speed metal riffing and Toshi's shout-singing vocals. The sheer volume of recognizable songs on the record is astounding; at times, it plays like a greatest hits compilation.

1. Prologue (~World Anthem)
words: Yoshiki
music: F. Marino
2. Blue Blood
words & music: Yoshiki
3. Week End*
words & music: Yoshiki
4. East Fight Rambling
words: Toshi
music: Taiji
5. X*
words: Hitomi Shiratori
music: Yoshiki
6. Endless Rain*
words & music: Yoshiki
7. Kurenai*
words & music: Yoshiki
8. Xclamation
music: hide & Taiji
9. Orgasm
words: Hitomi Shiratori
music: Yoshiki
10. Celebration*
words & music: hide
11. Rose of Pain
words & music: Yoshiki
12. Unfinished
words & music: Yoshiki

An asterisk (*) designates a song released as a single.

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