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Blue Peter


A flag with a blue ground and white square in the centre, hoisted as a signal that the ship is about to sail. Peter is a corruption of the French partir (leave or notice of departure). The flag is hoisted to give notice to the town that any person having a money-claim may make it before the ship starts, and that all about to sail are to come on board.


According to Falconer, it is a corruption of the “blue repeater.”

In whist, it is a “call for trumps”; that is, laying on your partner’s card a higher one than is required.

To hoist the blue Peter. To leave.

“‘When are you going to sail

“‘I cannot justly say. Our ship’s bound for America next voyage … but Iʹve got to go to the Isle of Man first … And I may have to hoist the blue Peter any day.ʹ”—Mrs. Gaskell: Mary Burton, chap. xiii.

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Entry taken from Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, edited by the Rev. E. Cobham Brewer, LL.D. and revised in 1895.

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Blue John (A)
Blue Laws (The)
Blue-light Federalists
Blue Monday
Blue Moon
Blue Mould
Blue Murder
Blue Peter
Blue-pigeon Flyer
Blue Ribbon (The)
Blue Ribbon (A)
Blue Ruin
Blue Squadron (The)
Blue Stocking
Blue Talk
Blue Wonder (A)
Blue and Red
Blue and Yellow (The)

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