be blue in the face(redirected from he was blue in the face)
be blue in the face
To show signs of exhaustion or strain from lengthy or repetitive speech. Often used in the phrase "till/until one is blue in the face." She was blue in the face from complaining about our decision. They are such strange friends. They'll argue till they're blue in the face, then they'll go out to eat and be the best of pals.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
blue in the face, to be/until one is
To have made a great effort. The literal significance of being blue in the face is lack of oxygen, and indeed, this expression sometimes indicates that one has talked until one is breathless. But it also has been extended to other kinds of effort, as in “I tried to open that sardine can until I was blue in the face.” It was current in the mid-nineteenth century, when Anthony Trollope wrote, “You may talk to her till you’re both blue in the face” (The Small House at Allington, 1864).
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer