Blood is Thicker than Water - Meaning, Origin and Usage

Are you planning on going out with your friends, but there's a family function on that day? If so, your mom or dad might tell you that you have to stay for the family event, and they could end their decision with the saying, "blood is thicker than water." This post unpacks the origin and meaning of this expression.

Blood is Thicker than Water Meaning

The meaning of the phrase "blood is thicker than water" refers to how family relationships are stronger than the commitment you have to your friends and colleagues. Blood relations have a deep connection to us, and it's morally right to stand up for your family, not your friends.

The expression applies to professional and social situations. For instance, if your work is asking you to work the weekend, and it's your mom's 80th birthday, you could skip work or quit, saying "blood is thicker than water."

The blood refers to family members, and the water relates to people outside your family.

Blood is Thicker than Water Example Usage

"I'm not going away on vacation anymore now that mom's in the hospital. Blood is thicker than water, and my friends will have a great time without me anyway."

"When you go broke, and you're one paycheck away from the street, you'll quickly realize that blood is thicker than water. Your friends will flee, but your family will be there for you."

"When you land in jail, don't expect your friends to come to your rescue. The family is the only people that will bail you out. Blood is thicker than water, and when days are dark, friends are few."

"I have two weddings on the same day, one is for a college friend, and the other is for my cousin. I'm going to have to attend my cousin's ceremony. You know what they say; blood is thicker than water."

"When I was going through a rough period, my sister dropped everything to help me. Blood is thicker than water, and family comes first."

Blood is Thicker than Water Origin

The origin of the phrase "blood is thicker than water" has references in literature in 1412 and 1670. Interestingly, the original expression is, "the blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb."

Therefore, the original phrase has an opposite meaning to how we use it today. In the original expression, you say that the bond you make with friends and people like your partner is more important than family relationships.

The first use of the phrase in its modern format comes from the novel "Guy Mannering," written by Sir Walter Scott in 1815.

Phrases Similar to Blood is Thicker than Water

  • Family over friends.
  • Family first.

Phrases Opposite to Blood is Thicker than Water

  • Friends over family.

What is the Correct Saying?

  • Blood is thicker than water.

Ways People May Say Blood is Thicker than Water Incorrectly

Some people may use the phrase "blood is thicker than water" when talking to their best friends or people very close to them, such as their girlfriend. However, this is the incorrect use of the phrase, and it refers to blood relations, not friends.

Acceptable Ways to Phrase Blood is Thicker than Water

You can use "blood is thicker than water" when describing the connection between family members and the power of the family bond. You can use the phrase when talking to family members, and it's usually in a conversation where you're trying to impress your commitment to the family. You can also use the phrase to tell strangers or friends that you value your family above acquaintances. You'll also use the expression when telling other family members that they can trust you.

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