Spanish jewellery-Gold and emerald pendant at VAM-01.jpg
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Spectral coordinates
Wavelength495–570 nm
Frequency~575–525 THz
About these coordinates     Color coordinates
Hex triplet#00FF00
sRGBB  (gb)(0, 255, 0)
SourcesRGB approximation to NCS S 2060-G[a]
B: Normalized to [0–255] (byte)

Green is the color between blue and yellow on the visible spectrum. It is evoked by light which has a dominant wavelength of roughly 495–570 nm. In subtractive color systems, used in painting and color printing, it is created by a combination of yellow and blue, or yellow and cyan; in the RGB color model, used on television and computer screens, it is one of the additive primary colors, along with red and blue, which are mixed in different combinations to create all other colors. By far the largest contributor to green in nature is chlorophyll, the chemical by which plants photosynthesize and convert sunlight into chemical energy. Many creatures have adapted to their green environments by taking on a green hue themselves as camouflage. Several minerals have a green color, including the emerald, which is colored green by its chromium content.

During post-classical and early modern Europe, green was the color commonly associated with wealth, merchants, bankers and the gentry, while red was reserved for the nobility. For this reason, the costume of the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci and the benches in the British House of Commons are green while those in the House of Lords are red.[1] It also has a long historical tradition as the color of Ireland and of Gaelic culture. It is the historic color of Islam, representing the lush vegetation of Paradise. It was the color of the banner of Muhammad, and is found in the flags of nearly all Islamic countries.[2]

In surveys made in American, European, and Islamic countries, green is the color most commonly associated with nature, life, health, youth, spring, hope and envy.[3] In the European Union and the United States, green is also sometimes associated with toxicity and poor health,[4] but in China and most of Asia, its associations are very positive, as the symbol of fertility and happiness.[3] Because of its association with nature, it is the color of the environmental movement. Political groups advocating environmental protection and social justice describe themselves as part of the Green movement, some naming themselves Green parties. This has led to similar campaigns in advertising, as companies have sold green, or environmentally friendly, products. Green is also the traditional color of safety and permission; a green light means go ahead, a green card permits permanent residence in the United States.

Etymology and linguistic definitions

The word green has the same Germanic root as the words for grass and grow

The word green comes from the Middle English and Old English word grene, which, like the German word grün, has the same root as the words grass and grow.[5] It is from a Common Germanic *gronja-, which is also reflected in Old Norse grænn, Old High German gruoni (but unattested in East Germanic), ultimately from a PIE root *ghre- "to grow", and root-cognate with grass and to grow.[6] The first recorded use of the word as a color term in Old English dates to ca. AD 700.[7]

Latin with viridis also has a genuine and widely used term for "green". Related to virere "to grow" and ver "spring", it gave rise to words in several Romance languages, French vert, Italian verde (and English vert, verdure etc.).[8] Likewise the Slavic languages with zelenъ. Ancient Greek also had a term for yellowish, pale green – χλωρός, chloros (cf. the color of chlorine), cognate with χλοερός "verdant" and χλόη "the green of new growth".

Thus, the languages mentioned above (Germanic, Romance, Slavic, Greek) have old terms for "green" which are derived from words for fresh, sprouting vegetation. However, comparative linguistics makes clear that these terms were coined independently, over the past few millennia, and there is no identifiable single Proto-Indo-European or word for "green". For example, the Slavic zelenъ is cognate with Sanskrit hari "yellow, ochre, golden".[9] The Turkic languages also have jašɨl "green" or "yellowish green", compared to a Mongolian word for "meadow".[10]

Languages where green and blue are one color

In some languages, including old Chinese, Thai, old Japanese, and Vietnamese, the same word can mean either blue or green.[11] The Chinese character (pronounced qīng in Mandarin, ao in Japanese, and thanh in Sino-Vietnamese) has a meaning that covers both blue and green; blue and green are traditionally considered shades of "". In more contemporary terms, they are (lán, in Mandarin) and (, in Mandarin) respectively. Japanese also has two terms that refer specifically to the color green, (midori, which is derived from the classical Japanese descriptive verb midoru "to be in leaf, to flourish" in reference to trees) and グリーン (guriin, which is derived from the English word "green"). However, in Japan, although the traffic lights have the same colors as other countries have, the green light is described using the same word as for blue, aoi, because green is considered a shade of aoi; similarly, green variants of certain fruits and vegetables such as green apples, green shiso (as opposed to red apples and red shiso) will be described with the word aoi. Vietnamese uses a single word for both blue and green, xanh, with variants such as xanh da trời (azure, lit. "sky blue"), lam (blue), and lục (green; also xanh lá cây, lit. "leaf green").

"Green" in modern European languages corresponds to about 520–570 nm, but many historical and non-European languages make other choices, e.g. using a term for the range of ca. 450–530 nm ("blue/green") and another for ca. 530–590 nm ("green/yellow").[citation needed] In the comparative study of color terms in the world's languages, green is only found as a separate category in languages with the fully developed range of six colors (white, black, red, green, yellow, and blue), or more rarely in systems with five colors (white, red, yellow, green, and black/blue).[12] (See distinction of green from blue)[13] These languages have introduced supplementary vocabulary to denote "green", but these terms are recognizable as recent adoptions that are not in origin color terms (much like the English adjective orange being in origin not a color term but the name of a fruit). Thus, the Thai word เขียว kheīyw, besides meaning "green", also means "rank" and "smelly" and holds other unpleasant associations.[14]

The Celtic languages had a term for "blue/green/grey", Proto-Celtic *glasto-, which gave rise to Old Irish glas "green, grey" and to Welsh glas "blue". This word is cognate with the Ancient Greek γλαυκός "bluish green", contrasting with χλωρός "yellowish green" discussed above.

In modern Japanese, the term for green is , while the old term for "blue/green", blue (, Ao) now means "blue". But in certain contexts, green is still conventionally referred to as 青, as in blue traffic light (青信号, ao shingō) and blue leaves (青葉, aoba), reflecting the absence of blue-green distinction in old Japanese (more accurately, the traditional Japanese color terminology grouped some shades of green with blue, and others with yellow tones).

The Persian language is traditionally lacking a black/blue/green distinction. The Persian word سبز sabz can mean "green", "black", or "dark". Thus, Persian erotic poetry, dark-skinned women are addressed as sabz-eh, as in phrases like سبز گندم گون sabz-eh-gandom-gun (literally "dark wheat colored") or سبز مليح sabz-eh-malih ("a dark beauty").[15] Similarly, in Sudanese Arabic, dark-skinned people are described as أخضر akhḍar, the term which in Standard Arabic stands unambiguously for "green".[16]

In nature and culture

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Groen
አማርኛ: አረንጓዴ
Ænglisc: Grēne
العربية: أخضر
aragonés: Verde
ܐܪܡܝܐ: ܝܪܘܩܐ
armãneashti: Veardi
asturianu: Verde
Avañe'ẽ: Hovyũ
Aymar aru: Ch'uxña
azərbaycanca: Yaşıl
تۆرکجه: یاشیٛل
বাংলা: সবুজ
Bân-lâm-gú: Le̍k-sek
Basa Banyumasan: Ijo
башҡортса: Йәшел
беларуская: Зялёны колер
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Зялёны колер
български: Зелен цвят
Boarisch: Grea
བོད་ཡིག: ལྗང་ཁུ།
bosanski: Zelena
brezhoneg: Gwer (liv)
català: Verd
Чӑвашла: Симĕс тĕс
čeština: Zelená
Chamoru: Betde
Cymraeg: Gwyrdd
dansk: Grøn
Deitsch: Grie
Deutsch: Grün
डोटेली: हरियो
eesti: Roheline
Ελληνικά: Πράσινο
эрзянь: Пиже (тюс)
español: Verde
Esperanto: Verdo
euskara: Berde
فارسی: سبز
français: Vert
furlan: Vert
Gaeilge: Glas
galego: Verde
客家語/Hak-kâ-ngî: Liu̍k-set
한국어: 초록
हिन्दी: हरा
hrvatski: Zelena
Bahasa Indonesia: Hijau
íslenska: Grænn
italiano: Verde
עברית: ירוק
Basa Jawa: Ijo
Kapampangan: Aluntiang
қазақша: Жасыл түс
Kiswahili: Kijani
Kreyòl ayisyen: Vèt
kurdî: Kesk
Кыргызча: Жашыл түс
Ladino: Vedre
лакку: Щюллисса
Latina: Viridis
latviešu: Zaļā krāsa
Lëtzebuergesch: Gréng
lietuvių: Žalia
Lingua Franca Nova: Verde
lumbaart: Verd
magyar: Zöld
македонски: Зелена боја
മലയാളം: പച്ച
Malti: Aħdar
मराठी: हिरवा
Bahasa Melayu: Hijau
Mìng-dĕ̤ng-ngṳ̄: Luŏh-sáik
Mirandés: Berde
мокшень: Сянгяря
Nāhuatl: Xoxoctic
Nederlands: Groen (kleur)
नेपाली: हरियो
नेपाल भाषा: वांगु
Napulitano: Vérd
нохчийн: Баьццара
Nordfriisk: Green
norsk: Grønn
norsk nynorsk: Grøn
Nouormand: Vèrt
occitan: Verd
олык марий: Ужар тӱс
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ: ਹਰਾ
پنجابی: ہرا
پښتو: زرغون
Picard: Vert
Plattdüütsch: Gröön
português: Verde
română: Verde
Runa Simi: Q'umir
русский: Зелёный цвет
саха тыла: От күөх өҥ
संस्कृतम्: हरितः
Scots: Green
Sesotho sa Leboa: Tala
sicilianu: Virdi
සිංහල: කොළ පාට
Simple English: Green
سنڌي: سائو
slovenčina: Zelená
slovenščina: Zelena
Soomaaliga: Cagaar
کوردی: سەوز
српски / srpski: Зелена боја
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Zeleno
Basa Sunda: Héjo
suomi: Vihreä
svenska: Grön
Tagalog: Lunti
தமிழ்: பச்சை
татарча/tatarça: Яшел төс
తెలుగు: ఆకుపచ్చ
тоҷикӣ: Сабз
Türkçe: Yeşil
українська: Зелений колір
اردو: سبز
ئۇيغۇرچە / Uyghurche: يېشىل رەڭ
Vahcuengh: Saekloeg
vèneto: Verdo
vepsän kel’: Vihand muju
Tiếng Việt: Xanh lá cây
Võro: Rohilinõ
Winaray: Lunghaw
Wolof: Wert
吴语: 绿色
ייִדיש: גרין
žemaitėška: Žalė
中文: 綠色