Blessed Vs. Blessed

by Jimmy Akin

in Languages

A reader writes:

Is there a difference between using Blessed (Bless-Ed), or Blessed (Bles-t) outside of a grammatical preference or usage?

If I understand you correctly, the answer is that the adjective "blessed" originally had a single meaning  but that it has come to be pronounced differently in different situations. It also has related noun and verb forms. There isn’t much of a difference in meaning much of the time (besides the obvious shifts caused by using the word as a verb or a noun), but there are rules on how it is pronounced.

We say /bless-ed/ when:

  1. We use it as a title (not an adjective), as in "Blessed John of Wherever."
  2. We are using it as an adjective in front of a noun, as in "What a
    blessed fool you are!"
  3. It comes immediately
    before the verb, as in "Blessed be the beasts and the children" or "Blessed are the peacemakers."

On the other hand, we say /blest/ when:

  1. We use it as a past tense
    verb ("The pope blessed the people"), and
  2. We use it
    as an adjective following the verb ("He felt very blessed").

At least that’s how it sounds to my English-speaking American Catholic ear.

Your mileage may vary.

And it may vary in particular if you are a member of a different religious community. The above are the way Catholics do it, I’ve heard converts who haven’t absorbed these usages yet do it differently.

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Brad Haas August 19, 2005 at 12:19 pm

What about “From this day, all generations will call me blessed” ?

Tom Woods August 19, 2005 at 2:57 pm

Also, bless-ed is used for things that are good and holy in and of themselves — thus Bless-ed Mother, Bless-ed Sacrament. (No one would say Bles-t Sacrament.) Whereas the usage “he has been blessed” (as in bles-t) implies that the blessing is something that comes from without and is not an intrinsic property of the thing that is blessed.
I hope that 1) makes sense and 2) is at least sort of correct.

Christian Survey Board August 19, 2005 at 8:18 pm

Blessed vs. Bless-ed – the differece is important in the American vernacular.
“I am blessed” typically implies that God did something for me.
“I am bless-ed” typically implies there is something intrinsic about me.
I am sure that what Jimmy’s reader was asking was how do we know which implication is right?
I would recommend looking it up in a Greek Lexicon. The word is transliterated “makariousin” which according the Friberg Greek Lexicon can be rendered “as an evaluation of someone as happy because of favorable circumstances regard as happy, think of as blessed, consider fortunate”

Anonymous August 19, 2005 at 8:56 pm


Susan August 22, 2005 at 7:27 am

What about “Blessed be god forever” during the Mass?
In our parish, we say this bless-ed, but the latin is “Benidictus Deus in saecula”
Also the divine praises the other day, everyone was saying Blest be instead of bless-ed.
And everyone at both of these times was Catholic.
Maybe there’s no hard and fast rule.

Phil W. August 22, 2005 at 10:00 am

Yup, also remember “benedicta” and “benedictus” in the Hail Mary, which are pronounced bless-ed in the English translation.

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