I've looked up several dictionaries but didn't find this phrasal verb actually.

"Well now, and what did you think of Bellair?" he asked. "Very little indeed." said I. "I may tell you," continued the judge,"that to me the employment os a fellow like that appears inexplicable. I know him; he knows me too; he has often heard from me in court; and I assure you the man is utterly blown upon; it is not safe to trust him with a dollar, and here we find him dealing up to fifty thousand. I can't think who can have trusted him, but I am very sure it was a stranger in San Francisco."

(The Wrecker by R. L. Stevenson and L. Osbourne, chapter x, published 1892)

  • 5
    Obsolete: has a ruined reputation. Commented Sep 26, 2023 at 17:56
  • 3
    Blown upon. Made the subject of a scandal. His reputation has been blown upon, means has been the subject of talk wherein something derogatory was hinted at or even asserted. Blown upon by the breath of slander. Commented Sep 26, 2023 at 18:59
  • @MichaelHarvey Is it a truncated form of "blown upon by the breath of slander"? Commented Sep 26, 2023 at 20:03
  • Blown upon by something. Scandal, shame, disgrace, etc. Commented Sep 26, 2023 at 20:05
  • 1
    @MichaelHarvey Can't remember where, but I remember reading something like scandal alights upon a person like flies upon festering sores. Commented Sep 26, 2023 at 21:57

1 Answer 1


Wiktionary gives the meaning of 'blow upon' to be

  1. To defame, discredit; make someone the subject of a scandal.

'To be blown upon' means 'discredited' or 'having been subject of a scandal'.

This corresponds with the comments by Michael Harvey. Green's Dictionary of Slang offers a lot of quotations containing this idiom. For example:

  • "She cried, ‘She was undone, and that the reputation of her house, which was never been blown upon before, was utterly destroyed." (Fielding, Henry. The History of Tom Jones. 1749.)
  • "As your name is not blown upon yet, suppose you coin a couple of quires!" (Foote, Samuel. The Bankrupt. 1773.)
  • "‘But I will blow her,’ he said, ‘I will blow her ladyship’s conduct in this business!’." (Scott, Walter. St Ronan's Well. 1824.)

The connotation with 'whistleblower' in that last example is probably coincidental (but note the lack of 'upon' there).

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .