blue-pen·​cil | \ ˈblü-ˈpen(t)-səl How to pronounce blue-pencil (audio) \
blue-penciled; blue-penciling; blue-pencils

Definition of blue-pencil

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

: to edit especially by shortening or deletion

blue pencil


Definition of blue pencil (Entry 2 of 2)

: a writing instrument used for editing also : the act or practice of blue-penciling

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Other Words from blue-pencil


blue penciller noun

Examples of blue-pencil in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Stalin’s blue pencil, unlike that of other editors, glided across not just poetry chapbooks and literary journals but life itself. Aaron Lake Smith, Harper's magazine, "The Trials of Vasily Grossman," 24 June 2019 But a blue pencil is as strong as a sword, and more cut and thrust would have made this book sharper. Laura Jacobs, New York Times, "Ten Women Whose Tongues and Pens Were as ‘Sharp’ as Knives," 11 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'blue-pencil.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of blue-pencil


1888, in the meaning defined above


1845, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for blue-pencil

Time Traveler for blue-pencil

The first known use of blue-pencil was in 1845

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More from Merriam-Webster on blue-pencil

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for blue-pencil

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with blue-pencil

Comments on blue-pencil

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an agreement to stop fighting a war

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