The idiom “in cold blood” means to kill or do something cruel or violent in a calm and deliberate way, without showing any emotion. The phrase is often used to describe murders that are committed without provocation or in a way that is especially cruel or sadistic. The phrase suggests that the perpetrator of the crime is not motivated by passion or emotion, but rather by a cold and calculating desire to harm another person. In addition to its literal meaning, the phrase “in cold blood” can also be used in a figurative sense to describe any act that is done in a calm and deliberate way, even if it is not violent. For example, someone might say that they made a decision “in cold blood” if they thought carefully about all the options before making a choice.
The origin of “in cold blood”
The origin of the idiom is unclear, but it is thought to date back to the 16th century. There are several theories regarding the origin. One is that the phrase “in cold blood” originated in 1600s medicine when doctors believed that emotions and internal fluids were closely connected. They thought that blood temperature rose when someone was angry or upset.
Another possible origin of the phrase is the French word “sang-froid,” which means “calmly” or “with composure.” This word has a positive connotation, unlike its English counterpart, which often carries negative connotations of violence or cruelty.
History of “in cold blood”
The earliest known use of the phrase is in a 1548 translation of Plutarch’s Lives, where it is used to describe the murder of Julius Caesar. In the translation, Plutarch writes that Caesar was “stabbed to death in cold blood.”
Another recorded use of the phrase was in 1608 by an English soldier, Francis Vere, who wrote “a resolution framed in cold blood.”
Most famous use of the idiom “in cold blood”
One of the most famous uses of the phrase “in cold blood” is in Truman Capote’s 1965 book of the same name. Capote’s book tells the true story of the murder of a Kansas family by two men. The book’s title reflects the fact that the murders were planned and carried out in a deliberate and unemotional way. It was published in 1966 and was a critical and commercial success, winning the National Book Award and becoming a bestseller.
The relevance of the title of the book
The title of the book, “In Cold Blood,” is relevant for several reasons. First, it reflects the seemingly motiveless and senseless nature of the murders. The Clutters were a prosperous and well-liked family, and their deaths shocked the small town of Holcomb. The title also suggests the lack of emotion or empathy that the killers, Perry Smith and Richard Hickock, exhibited during the murders.
Second, the title reflects the journalistic style of the book. Capote uses extensive interviews with the killers, their families, and the investigators to create a detailed and suspenseful account of the crime. The title suggests that the book is not simply a sensationalized account of the murders, but rather an attempt to understand the “cold blood” that motivated them.
Finally, the title reflects the literary qualities of the book. Capote is a skilled writer, and he uses his skills to create a work that is both informative and engaging. The title suggests that the book is not simply a dry recounting of facts, but rather a work of art that explores the nature of evil and violence.
Film of the book
The book was adapted for film. In Cold Blood is a 1967 American film about the murders of the Clutter family in Holcomb, Kansas. The film is based on the book of the same name by Truman Capote, and it stars Robert Blake as Perry Smith and Scott Wilson as Richard “Dick” Hickock. The film is faithful to the book in many ways, but it also makes some slight alterations, such as the inclusion of a fictional character, “The Reporter” (played by Paul Stewart).
The film begins with the murders of the Clutter family, and then it follows the investigation and the eventual capture of the killers. The film is a dark and disturbing look at the human capacity for violence, and it is a powerful reminder of the fragility of life.
“In cold blood” in Music
Quincy Jones composed a stunning Oscar-nominated score for the film In Cold Blood
“In Cold Blood” is a song by the British indie rock band alt-J. It was released as the second single from their third studio album, Relaxer, on March 29, 2017. It features a brass section recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London and a Casiotone. The song’s title is a reference to the book by Truman Capote. The song’s composition dates back to when the band started during their studies at the University of Leeds.
Everyday use of the idiom
The phrase “in cold blood” is still used today to describe acts of violence that are committed in a deliberate and unemotional way. It is often used to convey the sense of shock or horror that such acts can inspire.
The phrase “in cold blood” is a powerful and evocative expression that is often used to describe acts of violence that are particularly cruel or sadistic. It is a versatile expression that can be used in a variety of contexts. It is a reminder that even the most seemingly civilized people are capable of committing acts of violence if they are motivated by the wrong reasons.
Here are some additional examples of how the idiom “in cold blood” can be used in a sentence:
- The murderer was found guilty of killing his victim in cold blood.
- The judge sentenced the killer to death for the cold-blooded murder of his wife.
- The terrorist attack was a cold-blooded act of violence that killed innocent people.
- The dictator ruled his country with an iron fist, committing acts of cruelty in cold blood.
- I thought of everything before I resigned. I did it in cold blood.