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Talk a blue streak and curse a blue streak

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  • Talk a blue streak and curse a blue streak are two related idioms. An idiom is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. We will examine the meanings of the phrases talk a blue streak and curse a blue streak, where they came from and some examples of their use in sentences.


     

    To talk a blue streak means to speak rapidly in a constant, unending stream of words. Someone talking a blue streak barely stops to take a breath. This may be related to the excitement of the speaker, or simple verbosity. Related phrases are talks a blue streak, talked a blue streak, talking a blue streak. The use of the phrase blue streak to mean rapidly first occurred in American English in the 1830s, and is a reference to the speed of a bolt of lightning.

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    To curse a a blue streak means to curse rapidly in a constant, unending stream of curse words. Related phrases are curses a blue streak, cursed a blue streak, cursing a blue streak. Many people erroneously believe the word blue in this instance refers to the objectionable language used in cursing, however, this phrase is related to the expression talk a blue streak. Therefore, the word blue in the instance also is a reference to the speed of a bolt of lightning.

    Examples

    Spielberg has always been a voluble and articulate interview subject, if also a cagey one (he knows how to talk a blue streak and still keep his guard up). (Variety)

    “My mother, since I was only 17, had to sign for me; she wouldn’t do it unless the (Air Force) recruiter would guarantee I’d get my diploma. I had to talk a blue streak to get her to go up there with me and that was all she was worried about, that I’d have a high school diploma.” (The Mansfield News Journal)

    Now, think of what comes immediately to mind when you think of dad songs: “Daddy Could Swear, I Declare,” about a man whose most endearing fatherly feature was his ability to curse a blue streak. (The News & Observer)


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