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What does the color green mean? Its symbology and associated emotions

What does the color green mean? Its symbology and associated emotions

June 17, 2024

Observe a garden, a park full of green or a forest in broad daylight, in spring. The green leaves of trees, grass, moss and lichens ... It is something that has always inspired us and that we link with life. And it is that the green color almost always has been present in the world of the human being, being one of the most habitual colors in the natural environment and that more has accompanied us in our evolution.

This fact has caused that throughout history has been acquiring a series of connotations and symbolisms, to the point that this color has come to acquire a symbology and provoke a series of responses. This is mainly due to the psychological meaning we have given to this color and its symbolism. It is about this meaning of the green color that we are going to talk about in this article.


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The green as color

Although we generally speak of green and other colors as something palpable, which is there and is part of the nature of objects, the truth is that color is nothing more than the perception of refraction and absorption of light by these, being therefore the product of our perception,

In the case of green, we see this color when our eyes capture wavelengths between 496 and 570 nm . Between these wavelengths we perceive different tonalities of this color, existing different types of green. Along with red and blue, green is a color for which our eyes have a specific cone type.


Although biologically and also according to the model of the additive synthesis of color, green is one of the primary colors, being the secondary yellow and product of the mixture of green and red, the model of subtractive synthesis has traditionally been followed which is considered that this color was secondary and product of the mixture of blue and yellow (that is why most children have been taught in this way).

What does the color green mean?

As with the rest of the colors, green has its own symbology acquired through its association with elements of the same color and based on that, it has also generated a psychological meaning that is studied by the psychology of color. Specifically, it is related to nature and vegetation, from which multiple symbolisms are extracted.

In this sense, green tends to have in the human psyche a series of tremendously positive connotations . First, it is linked to birth, life, strength and energy. It is a color deeply associated with spring and linked to fertility and growth, something that makes it something related to the idea of ​​youth. In this sense it is also a symbol of innocence. Another element related to its link with growth is economic: it is a symbol of wealth.


The color associated with nature is also color to healing and healing, to freshness. In addition, as tradition says, green it is also the color of hope, optimism and good luck . Also with naturalness, the pursuit of pleasure and vigor. Finally, it is one of the colors most linked to the idea of ​​balance, serenity and calm, as well as with the spiritual.

Nature, which symbolizes green in general, is seen as beautiful and full of life. But it also has its dark side: it is also full of death, blood, persecution and cruelty. And in this sense, the symbolism of green also incorporates these negative elements. Among them is the association with poison and toxicity, probably derived from the coloring of many plants and animals (for example snakes and frogs) and the use of green dyes made of copper that turned out to be poisonous. It is also related, and probably is its best-known negative association, with envy .

Death, horror and manipulation are concepts linked to this color, especially in darker tones and when associated with black. The same goes for betrayal, including concepts such as infidelity. The light green also is associated with immaturity and naivety , as counterparts of the aforementioned relationship with youth, and the excess of the pursuit of pleasure. Also to vanity and both to force / authority and to weakness. Socially, it has also been identified as the color of the bourgeoisie.

Psychologically speaking, this color has been associated with characteristics such as calm and affection, as well as with moral demands, hedonism and joviality. Usually an association with the sociable and balanced is observed.

On the other hand, adaptability is linked (in extreme cases, indecision and conformism) and inner peace. However, it is also associated with possessiveness, resentful rumination and the aforementioned envy. Also to cunning, which in a negative sense can also be linked to manipulation. The green color also usually generates calm and relief , allowing reassurance that in turn improves emotional stability and favors rational and logical use. It also tends to be linked to optimism and vitality, improving energy levels and motivation and helping to maintain hope. It is also linked to a sensitive and open-minded personality.

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How is it used in society?

The properties and symbolisms of green make it an ideal color for certain practical uses. Its links with nature and recovery make it suitable for environments in which a search for balance and comfort is required, as well as for the healing and recovery of the state of mind.

Related to healing, among the meanings of green is also the increase of defenses and the preservation of motivation . It is also useful in meditation. In addition, its association and relaxing effect has resulted in the green and green clothes of doctors and surgeons.

Its connection with tolerance and flexibility means that it can be used in the painting of rooms where harmony is desired and levels of anxiety and stress are lowered, both in homes and offices. In marketing and advertising, it has been seen that green favors action, and also It is associated with recycling and respect for the environment as well as the idea of ​​freedom and stability. That is why it is used in the design of a large number of products. In the case of food products it is used due to the link between natural and healthy.

Cultural variations

In addition to the previously mentioned associations, the color green has received different considerations in different cultures or even through various historical.

In most of Europe, green is a symbol of good luck, energy, rebirth and nature . It is associated with Christmas and in countries like Ireland with the Catholic religion. The color of the bourgeoisie was considered, due to the difficulty to achieve said pigment. In the past, however, evil was often depicted with this color. It is also often linked to envy and jealousy, as well as weakness.

For Muslims green is a sacred color, associated with the Prophet Muhammad. It is also a symbol of strength, luck and prestige. In China and the rest of the East it implies hope and fertility, as well as virtue and good intentions. Traditionally jade was used to make gifts and offerings). However, sometimes it has also been associated with shame and infidelity.

The life-death duality linked to nature and the green color has been observed by multiple cultures and societies. For example in ancient Egypt the god Osiris had the skin of this color , being a deity linked to the judgment of souls and rebirth. For the pre-Columbian peoples symbolized immortality, fertility and power and used jade in the production of funeral masks. In some countries of South America where the jungle abounds, however, green is much more associated with death.


What Do Colors Mean? (June 2024).


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