noun: a woman having intellectual or literary interests
"The author is a bluestocking, with a weakness for etymology and archaic religious texts." Kathryn Harrison, The New York Times Book Review, December 21, 2008
Did you know..?
In mid-18th century England, a group of ladies decided to replace evenings of card playing and idle chatter with 'conversation parties', inviting illustrious men of letters to discuss literary and intellectual topics with them. One regular guest was scholar-botanist Benjamin Stillingfleet. His hostesses were willing to overlook his cheap blue worsted stockings (which were usually disdained by the elite) in order to have the benefit of his lively conversation. Those who considered it inappropriate for women to aspire to learning derisively called the group the Blue Stocking Society. The women who were the original bluestockings rose above the attempted put-down and adopted the epithet as a name for members of their society.