- joyous or lighthearted
- carefreeness that appears improper or thoughtless
Blithe is used when someone wants to describe a person as being jaunty or blissful. This application has a positive connotation as it refers to happiness and general goodness. If someone wants to describe the feeling they get after receiving a good grade on a test or finishing a long-term project, they could say they are in a blithe mood; similarly, a vacation from stressful work is a blithe event. Describing characters like SpongeBob or Santa Claus can also render the perfect moment to apply the term blithe because of their warm smiles, pink cheeks, and amiable nature.
Another usage of blithe is perceived as the negative version of the feelings mentioned above. It is applied when someone's joy becomes detrimental. In this sense, blithe people might become so happy about life that their emotions cloud their vision to other people's suffering. Intense blitheness can also lead to ignorance, so speaking positively of a situation that benefits one person without knowledge that it hurts others is also an instance of blithe behavior. Blithe actions can also show irresponsibility; for instance when given the freedom to order whatever dishes they want, blithe people might request everything on the menu at their favorite restaurant rather than being practical and ordering what's healthy and affordable for them. Although not everyone who is extremely happy experiences such unawareness, those who let their happiness become a blissful indifference are blithe.
Example: The smile on his face and the rosiness of his cheeks hinted that he was in a blithe mood.
Example: They were pleased with the new organization of the program because it gave them fewer responsibilities. They were blithe and took advantage of their free time and ended up falling behind on all of their work.
Blithe originates from many similar terms. The Old English term for blithe is blibe, meaning "kind, pleasant;" its root in Old Saxon English is bliði means "bright." It also draws its roots from the Proto-Germanic word blithiz, which means "gentle," and the Old High German word blidi for "friendly."
Blither: The comparative form of blithe describes a person as being more joyous than someone else.
Example: Between the two children, the young boy was blither than his sister.
Blithest: The superlative form of blithe refers to a person who experiences the most happiness among a group.
Example: Because of her lifelong happy disposition, it was difficult to find the blithest picture of her.
Blithely: The adverb form of blithe describes actions done in a cheerful manner or in an obliviously happy way.
Example: She twirled around the room blithely to her favorite song despite the fact that her music disturbed everyone else in the house.
Blitheness: This noun form of blithe means to be in a state of joyousness or carefreeness.
Example: His blitheness allowed him to act how he wanted without worrying of others' thoughts.
From William Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing:
Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more, / Men were deceivers ever, / One foot in sea, and one on shore, / To one thing constant never; / Then sigh not so, But let them go, / And be you blithe and bonny, / Converting all your sounds of woe / Into Hey nonny, nonny.
In this quote, the speaker—Balthasar—is comforting women because they are upset by the men's actions - their inconsistency and deceipt. He suggests that the women defeat their sadness and become blithe, i.e. carefree and blissful, by letting the men go.
- Blithe begins in bliss.
Bring out the linguist in you! What is your own interpretation of blithe. Did you use blithe in a game? Provide an example sentence or a literary quote.