Monday, March 19, 2007

Why is Green so Shy?

It's odd, isn't it? Green is the colour of Go. Red means stop, danger.

So why are there so many words that mean red, and so few usable ones that mean green?

Think about it. Say you're describing a pool of blood – it could be crimson, vermillion, scarlet, claret, burgundy...

Now say you're describing new grass. It's... green. Light green. It's not pistachio or jade, lime or couleur de corpse. It's possibly emerald. But it's certainly not olive.

Meanwhile, our pool of (now congealing) blood is ruby, wine and ruddy, carmine and cardinal. It may even be flushed cherry.

Our grass is still... Green. It's distinctly un-chartreuse-like, and I'd struggle to call it malachite. It's not beryl. Beryl is an old woman in a nylon pinny and a knitted hat.

Is it pea? It peeing well isn't.

Bah. I live in England's Green and Pleasant Land, and when spring springs, there just aren't the words to describe the new grass, the bursting hawthorn, the budding alders and willows, the sharp spires of daffodil leaves and the soft moss.

There's just not enough Green to describe the Green.

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At 9:11 am, Anonymous Julie Cohen said...


As Kermit said, "It's not easy being green."

I guess this means the snow didn't stick, huh?

At 11:50 am, Blogger Akelamalu said...

You are so right - I'd never thought of it before!

At 12:34 pm, Blogger Grace Tyler said...

Perfectly true. And such a good question!

Can't wait for your book to come out!

At 12:48 pm, Blogger Anna Lucia said...

Verdant is my friend, Julie... *g*

Kermit is a true sage of our times. *sigh* How I miss the Muppet Show.

Ah, I think these odd thoughts all the time, Akelamalu! ;-)

Thank you Grace! Nor can I! :-D

At 1:30 pm, Anonymous Alexandra said...

What a wonderfully eloquent post. :-)

And I'd have to agree with verdant... the land blossomed, lush, green and verdant!

Oh, and the goat and the slinky? Definitely! *snigger*

At 3:17 pm, Anonymous Loreth Anne White said...

LOL -- we could do with some of that verdant kind of grass green around here on the verge of the Spring Equinox. I take it the snow melted?


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