Colors often have different meanings in different cultures. In America, black is associated with death, while white signifies purity. In the Orient, however, white is the traditional color of mourning.
In South Africa, red is the color of mourning but, in China, it is the color of good luck.
People respond to different colors in different ways, and these responses take place on a subconscious, emotional level. A color might be perceived in both the positive and negative aspects.
Black is the color of authority and power. It is stylish and timeless. Black can also imply submission.
The Positive Black
Black Tie - formal affair
Black Belt - expert
In the Black - having money
The Negative Black
Black Out - loss of consciousness
Black Hearted - evil
Black Sheep - an outcast
Black Market - illegal trade
Blackmail - obtaining something by threat
Blacklist - to boycott, avoid, or punish
Black Humor - morbid, unhealthy
Black Lung - coal miner's disease
The color of the sky and the ocean, blue is one of the most popular colors. It causes the opposite reaction as red. Peaceful, tranquil blue causes the body to produce calming chemicals, so it is often used in bedrooms. Blue can also be cold and depressing.
The Positive Blue
True Blue - loyal and faithful
Out of the Blue - unexpected (could be positive or negative)
Blue Ribbon - first rate, top prize
Blue Blood - person of noble birth, royalty
Bluebook - register of socially prominent people
The Blues - popular style of music
The Negative Blue
The Blues - depression, state of sadness
Blue Monday - feeling sad
Baby Blues - postpartum depression
Singing the Blues - bemoaning one's circumstances
Blue Laws - laws to enforce certain moral standards
Blue Language - profanity
Bluenose - puritanical individual
Solid, reliable brown is the color of earth and is abundant in nature. Brown can also be sad and wistful.
The Positive Brown
Brown Bottle - beer
Brown - cook or burn
The Negative Brown
Brown-nose - ingratiating with people of authority
Brown Study - aloof, indifferent
Brown Out - partial loss of electricity
Because gold is a precious metal, the color gold is associated with wealth and prosperity. Gold is the traditional gift for a 50th Wedding Anniversary.
The Positive Gold
Gold Star - praise, commendation
Good as Gold - valuable, positive, well behaved
Solid Gold - superior, outstanding, best of the best
Gold Standard - the best, quality, excellence
Golden Child - favored person
The Negative Gold
Gold Brick - trick, cheat, or deceive
Gold Digger - someone who is only after a person's money
Fool's Gold - mica, anything mistaken for gold, worthless
Green symbolizes nature. It is the easiest color on the eye and can improve vision. Hospitals often use green because it relaxes patients. Dark green is masculine, conservative, and implies wealth.
The Positive Green
Green Light - go, permission to proceed
The Green Room - relaxing room for performers and guests
Green Thumb - good with plants
Greenback - money
Greener Pastures - newer or better
The Negative Green
Green-eyed Monster - jealousy
Green - inexperienced, untested, untrained
Greenhorn - novice, trainee, beginner
Green around the Gills - pale, sickly
The color of royalty, purple connotes luxury, wealth, and sophistication. It is also feminine and romantic.
Purple Heart - bravery, distinguished, wounded in action
The Negative Purple
Purple Speech - profanity, raunchy language
Purple Prose - exaggeration, colorful lies
Purple Haze - confusion or euphoria, possibly drug-induced, type of marijuana
The most emotionally intense color, red stimulates a faster heartbeat and breathing. It is also the color of love. Red cars are popular targets for thieves.
The Positive Red
Red Letter Day - important or significant occasion
Red Carpet Treatment - special, treat like a celebrity
Red Sky in the morning, sailor's warning; Red Sky at night, sailor's delight - good and bad warning signs
Paint the Town Red - celebrate, party
Red Eye - an overnight flight
The Negative Red
Seeing Red - angry
Red Herring - deceive or distract from the truth
In the Red - overdrawn at the bank, debt, losing money
Red Flag - danger, warning, an impending battle.
Silver often symbolizes riches, just as gold does. Silver can be glamorous and distinguished. While or gray-haired men and women are seen as "old"; silver-haired denotes a graceful aging. Silver is the traditional 25th Wedding Anniversary gift.
The Positive Silver
Silver Screen - movies, especially classic movies
Silver Tongued - witty, eloquent speaker
Pieces of Silver - money, coins
Silver Lining - priveleged, lucky, the bright side
The Negative Silver
Silver Tongued Devil - articulate insincere speaker, a liar
Born with a Silver Spoon - a putdown against someone born into a wealthy family
Brides wear white to symbolize innocence and purity. Doctors and nurses wear white to imply sterility.
The Positive White
White as the driven snow - pure, clean, innocent
White Elephant - rare, perhaps unwanted
White Knight - a hero, to rescue, being good, noble
White List - list of good or acceptable items
White Sale - sale of linens
Pearly White - very white teeth
The Negative White
Whitewash - cover up, conceal
Whiteout - zero visibility
White Flag - surrender
White Lightning - moonshine, illegal whiskey
White Elephant - rare, valuable but perhaps unwanted
White Knuckle - fast, exciting, or frightening
Cheerful sunny yellow is an attention getter. While it is considered an optimistic color, people lose their tempers more often in yellow rooms, and babies will cry more. It is the most difficult color for the eye to take in. Yellow speeds metabolism.