Origins of Sayings - Blood is Thicker Than Water

Abuot the history and origins behind the famous saying blood is thicker than water.

Stories behind Famous Sayings


Who Said It: Commodore Josiah Tattnall

When: 1859

The Story behind It: In June, 1859, an American ship, the Toeywan, unexpectedly came to the aid of a British fleet engaged in an attack on the Chinese at the mouth of the Pei-ho River. The commander of the ship, Josiah Tattnall, was later asked to explain his actions. In a dispatch to the U.S. secretary of the navy, Tattnall tersely commented, "Blood is thicker than water." While Tattnall catapulted the statement into popular use, it had appeared as early as 1670 in a book of Scottish proverbs compiled by one John Ray.

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