[Histonet] My bit of trivia for today - True Blue

Morken, Timothy Timothy.Morken <@t> ucsfmedctr.org
Mon Nov 7 12:09:11 CST 2011

I was listening to the Wait Wait Don't Tell Me radio show this weekend and they had to come up with the derivation of "True Blue" as a saying. Turns out it had to do with blue dye colorfastness. Later they would call it Fast Blue - but that does not convey the later meaning of the phrase..

'True blue' is supposed to derive from the blue cloth that was made at Coventry, England in the late middle ages. The town's dyers had a reputation for producing material that didn't fade with washing, i.e. it remained 'fast' or 'true'. The phrase 'as true as Coventry blue' originated then and is still used (in Coventry at least). The town's standing was recorded in 1670 by John Ray in the first edition of A Compleat Collection of English Proverbs:

"Coventry had formerly the reputation for dying of blues; insomuch that true blue became a Proverb to signifie one that was always the same and like himself."

Tim Morken
Supervisor, Histology, IPOX
UC San Francisco Medical Center
Box 1656
1600 Divisidero St, B217
San Francisco, CA 94115

415.514.6042 (office)
415.885.7409 Fax
tim.morken <@t> ucsfmedctr.org<mailto:tim.morken <@t> ucsfmedctr.org>

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