once in a blue moon
once in a blue moon
- very rarely
- once after a long time
- something that happens very seldom
- on rare occasions
- almost never
- hardly ever
- The earthquakes hits once in a blue moon in this part of the earth, we never felt it.
- I don’t know why she bought that music system – she uses it once in a blue moon.
- “I think my grandson doesn’t love me anymore, he comes to see me only once in a blue moon.”
- My Dad is working in Scotland and he visits home once in a blue moon, every couple of years.
- Although I trust in God, I visit that famous temple only once in a blue moon.
The concept behind the origination of this idiom is second but rare appearance of the full moon in same month. Blue moon is the full moon that appears second time in same calendar month and this phenomenon happens only once in 32 months. Apart from that, sometime the full moon appears to be different in colour specially blue and orange and bigger in size.
The earliest known recorded use of another version of the idiom is in an anti-clerical booklet printed in 1528 by William Roy and Jeremy Barlowe. In a discussion between two characters.
“O churche men are wyly foxes […] Yf they say the mone is blewe / We must beleve that it is true / Admittynge their interpretacion.”
It seems to be a reference to priests at the time making statements and expecting the average person to trust they were right, irrespective of how ridiculous it was. It is something like the original usage of the “moon is made of green cheese,” in that case referring to the fact that only fools would trust that.
In its current form, the idiom dates back to 1821 with the publication of Real Life in London by Pierce Egan.
In the book, one character says to another.
“How’s Harry and Ben? – haven’t seen you this blue moon.”
Since then, the expression has developed into a famous common saying.
Idiom of the Day
Meaning: extreme circumstances can only be resolved by equally extreme actions
Example: After the company had posted losses for the third consecutive year, the board decided to replace all of its top management. After all, drastic times call for drastic measures. Read on