from The American HeritageĀ® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Having poor vision; nearly or partly blind.
  • adj. Slow in understanding or discernment; dull: "a purblind oligarchy that flatly refused to see that history was condemning it to the dustbinā€ ( Jasper Griffin).
  • adj. Obsolete Completely blind.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Partially blind.
  • adj. Near-sighted or dim-sighted.
  • adj. Lacking in discernment or understanding.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Wholly blind.
  • adj. Nearsighted, or dim-sighted; seeing obscurely

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Quite blind; entirely blind.
  • Nearly blind; dim-sighted; seeing dimly or obscurely.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. having greatly reduced vision
  • adj. lacking in insight or discernment


Middle English pur blind, totally blind, nearsighted : pur, pure; see pure + blind, blind; see blind.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)



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  • According to the OED, the prefix originally meant "pure," so it was actually an amplification of "blind," but this meaning became obscure centuries ago and it took meanings like partially blind, blind in one eye, myopic, stupid, etc.

    September 27, 2010

  • O purblind race of miserable men,
    How many among us at this very hour
    Do forge a life-long trouble for ourselves,
    By taking true for false, or false for true;
    Here, through the feeble twilight of this world
    Groping, how many, until we pass and reach
    That other, where we see as we are seen!

    - Alfred Tennyson, 'Geraint and Enid'.

    September 30, 2008

  • Purblind means either partially, or not completely blind. It also has a second meaning of slow to understand or discern.

    August 14, 2008

  • Purblind is "partially" blind, no? I think the obsolete meaning of the word was completely blind, so it was once a synonym of blind.

    October 10, 2007

  • So what's the difference, if any, between blind and purblind?

    October 9, 2007