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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
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
Blue
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
Brown
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
Gold
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
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
Purple
The color of royalty, purple connotes luxury, wealth, and sophistication. It is also feminine and romantic.
The Positive Purple
  • Purple Cow - remarkable, eye-catching, unusual
  • Purple Prose - exaggeration, highly imaginative writing (also has negative connotations)
  • 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
Red
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
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
White
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
Yellow
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.
The Positive Yellow
  • Yellow Ribbon - hope, support, remembrance
  • Mellow Yellow - laid back, relaxed
The Negative Yellow
  • Yellow or Yellow-Bellied - a coward
  • Yellow Journalism - irresponsible reporting

 

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