Blindside or Blind Side? Meaning, Origin & Correct Usage

Are you wondering what the phrase “blindside” means? Is it blindside or blind side? Let’s learn more about this saying and how to use it correctly.

Blindside is a commonly misunderstood English term because it sounds just like blind side. So, what does blindside mean?

Blindside, when spelled as one word, means to surprise someone in a negative way or from the direction that they aren’t looking. Joel C. Rosenberg captured this definition when he said, “To misunderstand the nature and threat of evil is to risk being blindsided by it.” Blindside is a verb; it is an action applied to someone.

When spelled as two different words, blind side refers to spots in our vision, typically at the side, that we cannot see. Blind side in a noun.

Yet the two terms are linked, with the latter – blind side – giving rise to the former – blindside.

Let’s learn more about how to use these terms correctly and where they came from. You might also be interested in our benefiting vs. benefitting explainer.

Blindside or Blind Side

What Does Blindside Mean?

What does blindside mean?
Blindside is defined as being caught off guard in an unpleasant way

The definition of blindside is being caught off guard in an unpleasant way. In this context, “blindside” is an idiom. An idiom is a word or phrase that has a meaning assigned to it, even if the saying doesn’t make literal sense.

In other words, there is no literal meaning but you would use this word to express what was done to you. As this term is usually used in the past tense, we add the suffix -ed and say we have been blindsided.

Blindside is a transitive verb. Transitive verbs need a direct object to clarify the action.

Here are some examples of blindside in a sentence:

  • She was blindsided by the breakup, she thought everything was fine between them.
  • The team was blindsided by the lay-offs.
  • How could you blindside me like that after everything we’ve been through?
  • The family was blindsided by her passing; she seemed perfectly healthy the day before.
  • I was blindsided by that Spanish quiz, we hadn’t covered half the material.
  • I felt blindsided by all the secrets he kept from me, like still using dating apps.

You might be interested in our guide on basic English grammar rules.

What Does Blind Side Mean?

What does blind side mean?
Example sentences using blind side, “He won the boxing match by hitting him from the blind side”

A blind side is a blind spot in your vision, whether it’s due to poor eyesight, the direction you’re looking in, or something blocking your view.

In this context, “blind side” is a noun.

Here are some example sentences using blind side:

  • I was startled because you approached me from my blind side.
  • He won the boxing match by hitting him from the blind side.
  • The driver didn’t see the dog because he ran in front of his blind side.
  • We can’t tell what happened, it was on the blind side of the CCTV.
  • The kids snuck past the teacher on her blind side.

The Blind Side In Sports

When it comes to football, the blind side is the area opposite to direction to where a player is standing. A blind side tackle, sometimes spelled as blindside tackle, is when the defensive player tackles the quarterback.

A left-handed quarterback would face that direction of the field, meaning the defensive player would do a right tackle, and vice versa for right-handed quarterbacks. A coach will strategically place the offensive linemen to prevent the opposing team from using this tackle to pass the offensive line.

In rugby, there is a position called a blindside flanker. The name doesn’t come from the side of the pitch they’re on but the side of a scrum they run to.

If you like sports, you might be interested in our golf word list.

Blindside Origin

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the earliest known use of blindsided as a transitive verb dates back to the 1820s.

The origin of blind side predates that and the two phrases are clearly linked, with blind side giving rise to blindsided.

Blind Side Origin

To discover where this phrase came from, we should first look at the origin of the individual words.

The verb “blind,” meaning to be deprived of vision, has Germanic origins and has been used since the early 13th Century. The noun “side,” meaning on the left or right of someone or something, comes from Old English and has been used since before 1150.

The noun “blind side,” meaning a blind spot in vision, has been in use since the 1600s. Using blind side to describe being hit from a spot you couldn’t see or the tackle in American football also came about in the 1600s.

Blind Side Synonyms

Below are some synonyms you might find in a thesaurus for the term “blind side” when pertaining to blind spots in vision:

  • Weak side
  • Blind angle
  • Blind spot
  • Unseen area
  • Unguarded

If you want to express that you were blindsided by a nasty shock, below are some new words to expand your vocabulary:

  • Surprised
  • Ignorant
  • Shocked
  • Befuddle
  • Unprepared
  • Taken off guard

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Blind Side Meaning: FAQs

What Does Blind Sighted Mean?

Although it sounds similar to blindsided, being blindsighted is “the ability of individuals with blindness to detect and respond to visual stimuli despite lacking awareness of having seen anything.”


  • Aisling is an Irish journalist and content creator with a BA in Journalism & New Media. She has bylines in OK! Magazine, Metro, The Inquistr, and the Irish Examiner. She loves to read horror and YA. Find Aisling on LinkedIn.