To bless is to offer a holy seal of approval, like when a priest blesses water, making holy water. It’s also what people say when you sneeze: bless you, which is short for “may God bless you.”

If you go back far enough, the word bless is related to the word blood, because of the blood sprinkled on pagan alters. It moved on to mean “to praise,” and now it’s a little of both (minus the pagans). In religious contexts, things are made holy when they're blessed. Also, people are blessed by good things that happen. People often say things like "I've been blessed with good health.” That means they were lucky to receive such good things.

Definitions of bless

v make the sign of the cross over someone in order to call on God for protection; consecrate

Type of:
gesticulate, gesture, motion
show, express or direct through movement

v render holy by means of religious rites

consecrate, hallow, sanctify
deconsecrate, desecrate, unhallow
remove the consecration from a person or an object
consecrate anew, as after a desecration
Type of:
state emphatically and authoritatively

v give a benediction to

“The dying man blessed his son”
anathemise, anathemize, bedamn, beshrew, curse, damn, imprecate, maledict
wish harm upon; invoke evil upon
anele, anoint, embrocate, inunct, oil
administer an oil or ointment to ; often in a religious ceremony of blessing
Type of:
arouse, bring up, call down, call forth, conjure, conjure up, evoke, invoke, put forward, raise, stir
summon into action or bring into existence, often as if by magic

v confer prosperity or happiness on

Type of:
bestow, confer

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