blue jack

It started with my observing to a friend that a container in which a blue cheese had been stored can be used to start “blu(e)ing” any cheese, citing the blue cheddar I had recently created in my refrigerator. And then this friend went off to buy some cheese for me, and came across some blue jack, a blue version of Monterey Jack. Jack is a mild cheese that has the virtue of being sliceable, and sliceable blue cheeses aren’t easy to come by (most blue cheeses crumble or shatter), so blue jack could be a good find. And so it was:


From the Boar’s Head site effusive ad copy:

Inspired by the rich tradition of European bleu cheese, just the aroma of Boar’s Head Bold® MarBleu™ Marbled Blue Monterey Jack Cheese will send your senses on a flavor voyage. This masterfully blended cheese delivers a creamy yet distinctive bleu flavor that can be sliced without crumbling.

It is, in fact, subtly blue, and goes well in a sandwich with sliced roast beef.

I was then moved to think about possible interpretations of blue jack, considering first semantically transparent combinations of blue and jack, for various senses of each of these:

adj. blue: (a) blue in color; (b) depressed; (c) characterized by sexual or obscene language

noun jack: (a) a device for lifting heavy objects; (b) a particular playing card, the lowest of the face cards; (c) short for (a) hijack; (d) short for (a) jack-off ‘an instance of masturbation’; (d) short for (a) jackrabbit

No doubt there are more relevant senses (well, there’s blue ‘with the Penicillium mold added’ and jack, short for (Monterey) jack cheese). Not all combinations are sensical, but some are entertaining; I’m especially fond of blue jack ‘a masturbation accompanied by dirty talk’ and blue jack ‘a depressed jackrabbit’.

Then there’s a collection of fixed expressions, idiomatic to one degree or another, starting with a fish blue jack, aka coho (salmon). (from Random House):

coho salmon: a small salmon, Oncorhynchus kisutch, of the North Pacific coasts and also in the Great Lakes, where it was introduced: important as agame and food fish.

Also called blue jack, cohoe salmon, coho, cohoe, silver salmon.

1865-70; earlier cohose (construed as plural) < Halkomelem (mainland dial.) k̉ wə́x wəθ

From Wikipedia:


Blue jack in its ocean phrase

During their ocean phase, coho salmon have silver sides and dark-blue backs. During their spawning phase, their jaws and teeth become hooked. After entering fresh water, they develop bright-red sides, bluish-green heads and backs, dark bellies and dark spots on their backs. Sexually maturing fish develop a light-pink or rose shading along the belly, and the males may show a slight arching of the back. Mature adults have a pronounced red skin color with darker backs and average 28 inches and 7 to 11 pounds, occasionally reaching up to 36 pounds. They also develop a large kype (hooked beak) during spawning.

Then another fish, the aquarium fish the Electric Blue Jack Dempsey, Nandopsis octofasciatum, an aggressive carnivore. From the LiveAquaria site:


We’re pleased to offer the Electric Blue Jack Demsey, an uncommon but natural variant of Nandopsis octofasciatum. Adorned in brilliant blue, this showcase cichlid is typically smaller and reported to be less aggressive than its popular counterpart.

The Electric Blue Jack Dempsey is a freshwater fish that originates in the murky warm waters of Central America. It has a base color of electric blue to gray, and displays many iridescent blue and green spots, giving this fish a spectacular look. When breeding, these colors will intensify.

By now, you will have seen that Electric Blue Jack Demsey doesn’t actually have the expression blue jack in it, since it’s parsed

[ electric blue ] [ Jack Dempsey ]

From NOAD2:

noun electric blue: a steely or brilliant light blue: the pot is decorated with circles of electric blue | an electric-blue sports car.

And from Wikipedia:

The Jack Dempsey (Rocio octofasciata) is a species of cichlid that is widely distributed across North and Central America (from Mexico south to Honduras). Its common name refers to its aggressive nature and strong facial features, likened to that of the famous 1920s boxer Jack Dempsey.

Then something of a mystery, the Bluejack National. From the company site:

Bluejack National is a private club and resort-style community located on 755-acres of rolling hills in Montgomery, Texas. Bluejack, which features the only Tiger Woods-designed golf course and short course in the United States, is limited to 400 residences and 550 memberships.

I haven’t found anything that explains the name. It might possibly have been intended to evoke the sport fish and bluejack as a shortening  of bluejacket in one of the regional, Native American, or military senses I’ll mention below.

Then from the allbud site on medical marijuana:

Hybrid – 50% Sativa /50% Indica: Blue Jack is one of the most commonly used strains that offers smokers a sense of newness; its strong citrus like scent calms the nerves and evokes the feeling of serenity. The strain is also known as blueberry jack, but in recent years, it has taken the name of ‘Blue Jack.’ The immediate effects of the strain include euphoria, happiness, laziness, sleepiness and uplifted mood.

And from (among other sites) Urban Dictionary on the verb bluejack:

to send a message, ringtone, image or file via Bluetooth to someone’s mobile phone who you don’t know. – by Gunter 11/4/03

(a portmanteau, Bluetooth + hijack).

Now, to Bluejacket or Blue Jacket in a variety of senses, many of which can be abbreviated to bluejack or blue jack. A summary from Wikipedia:


A term for an enlisted sailor in the United States or Royal Navy

Blue Jacket (1745–1810), Shawnee war chief known for his defense of Shawnee lands in the Ohio Country

Charles Blue Jacket (1817–1897), 19th century Shawnee chief in Kansas, and Methodist Minister

Jim Bluejacket (1887–1947), one of the first Native Americans to play in major league baseball

Jimmy Smith (baseball) (1895–1974), major league infielder often referred to as Bluejacket


Bluejacket, Oklahoma [named for its first postmaster, the Rev. Charles Bluejacket, one-time chief of the Shawnee and grandson of noted leader Blue Jacket]

Blue Jacket Creek, a stream in Ohio

the original 1777 settlement at the site of today’s Bellefontaine, Ohio


Blue Jacket (clipper), an 1854 clipper ship in the Liverpool and Australia trade

USS Blue Jacket, the name of several U.S. Navy ships


The Bluejacket’s Manual, the basic handbook for U.S. Navy personnel

The Bluejackets, a 1922 Dutch film

Columbus Blue Jackets, a professional ice hockey team in the NHL based in Columbus, Ohio [The Blue Jackets’ name and logos are inspired by Ohio’s Civil War history.]

Fleet City Bluejackets, a World War II American military football team that won the 1945 service national championship

Tradescantia ohiensis, a plant known by the common name “bluejacket”


Tradescantia ohiensis (which grew wild in my Columbus garden)

To which I add:

blue jacket: part of the uniform of Union soldiers in US Civil War; hence, such a soldier

A display of Yankee blue (with Civil War re-enactors):


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