Figurative usage of color/colour

810senior

Senior Member
Japanese
I think the difference of the figurative usage for colors would be good topic here and that's also why I posted here.
How are terms concerning colors like red or blue figuratively used in your language?

Thanks in advance.


In Japanese:
赤aka : red
(figurative) entirely, concrete e.g. 赤の他人(aka no tanin/ lit. red other person meaning stranger I never know), 赤裸々(sekirara/ lit. red nude meaning entirely naked, unvarnished)

緑midori : green
(figurative) fresh, a brand new e.g. みどり児(midorigo/ lit. green baby meaning a new born baby)

青ao : blue
(figurative) immature e.g. 青二才(aonisai/ lit. blue two years meaning an inexperienced young man)

ピンクpinku : pink
(figurative) of adult e.g. ピンク映画(pinku eigai/ lit. pink film meaning blue film, pornographic film)

黒kuro, 白shiro : black, white
(figurative) 黒 means be guilty and otherwise 白 innocent. e.g. あの人は間違いなく黒だ、白とは思えない(lit. that man must be black(=guilty), I don't believe he would be white(=innocent))
 
  • apmoy70

    Senior Member
    Greek
    In Greek:


    «Κοκκινίζω» [kociˈnizo] --> to turn red, redden, blush, be scarlet-colored; denominative verb < Classical neut. noun «κόκκινον» kókkinŏn --> red, scarlet < Classical masc. noun «κόκκος» kókkŏs --> berry/grain of the kermes oak, or the eggs of the scale insects in the family Coccoidea, that live on the tree and resemble fine grains of wheat, used for the dyeing of textiles red in antiquity (with unknown etymology).
    In the classical language the verb preferred was «ἐρυθριάω/ἐρυθριῶ» ĕrŭtʰrĭáō (uncontracted)/ ĕrŭtʰriô (contracted) < Classical neut. noun «ἐρυθρόν» ĕrŭtʰrón --> colour red (PIE *h₁reudʰ-, red cf Skt. रुधिर (rudhirá), red, bloody; Lat. ruber; Proto-Germanic *raudaz > Ger. Rot, Dt. rood, Eng. red, Isl. rauður, D./Nor. Bokmål rød, Nor. Nynorsk raud, Swe. röd; OCS рудъ > BCS риђ/riđ, рујан/rujan).
    «Κόκκινο» [ˈkocino] (neut.) --> red, is the colour of shame, embarassment.

    «Ασπρίζω» [asˈprizo] --> to turn white, become white-haired, blanch, denominative verb < Byz. neut. noun «ἄσπρον» áspron --> white < Lat. asper, rough, newly minted coin (therefore shiny).
    «Άσπρο» [ˈaspro] (neut.) --> white (colloquialism), is the colour of terror or paleness; also the colour of maturity (white-haired).

    «Μπλαβίζω» [blaˈvizo] --> to turn blue; denominative verb < Late Byz. neut. noun «μπλάβο» blávo < Late Lat. blāvus --> blue, gray.
    «Μπλάβο» [ˈblavo] (neut.) and «μπλαβί» [blaˈvi] (neut.) --> dark blue is the colour of anger, rage, fury.

    «Μελανιάζω» [melaˈɲazo] --> to turn black; denominative verb < Classical 3rd declension neut. noun «μέλαν» mélan --> dark colour, black (PIE *mel(h₂)-n-, black cf Skt. मल (mála), dirt, filth, dust; Ltv. melns, black).
    «Μέλαν» [ˈmelan] (neut.) --> black is the colour of cold, in Greek we turn black from cold (instead of blue).

    «Κιτρινίζω» [citriˈnizo] --> to turn yellow; denominative verb < Byz. neut. noun «κίτρινον» kítrinon --> colour of citrus < Lat. citrus.
    «Κίτρινο» [ˈcitrino] (neut.) --> yellow is the colour of fear, cowardice
     

    ancalimon

    Senior Member
    Turkish
    The most distinctive usage of colours in Turkish (and also other Turkic dialects and languages) are the directions. Sometimes the colour for certain directions change depending on the geography and location of that Turkic group.

    Kara (black): North. (kara also means land) (example: Kara Deniz ( Black Sea : Northern Sea ~ Sea between lands ))
    Ak (white) : West. (ak also means to flow, flowing of liquid) (example: Ak Deniz ( Mediterranean Sea : Western Sea ))
    Kızıl (red) : South. (example: Kızıl Deniz ( Red Sea : Southern Sea ))
    Mavi (blue) : East. (exampe: Kök Türk ~ Göktürk : Eastern Turks (kök also means blue))
     
    Last edited:

    ilocas2

    Banned
    Czech
    pink is associated with homosexuality

    růžová lobby (pink lobby) - homosexual lobby
    růžový byznys (pink business) - business oriented on homosexuals
    růžová turistika (pink tourism) - homosexual tourism
     

    810senior

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    The most distinctive usage of colours in Turkish (and also other Turkic dialects and languages) are the directions. Sometimes the colour for certain directions change depending on the geography and location of that Turkic group.

    Kara (black): North. (kara also means land) (example: Kara Deniz ( Black Sea : Northern Sea ~ Sea between lands ))
    Ak (white) : West. (ak also means to flow, flowing of liquid) (example: Ak Deniz ( Mediterranean Sea : Western Sea ))
    Kızıl (red) : South. (example: Kızıl Deniz ( Red Sea : Southern Sea ))
    Mavi (blue) : East. (exampe: Kök Türk ~ Göktürk : Eastern Turks (kök also means blue))

    I have you to thank for letting me know this quite interesting information. :)

    I suppose the usage of colors for direction in Turkish might come from Feng shui which is Chinese philosophical system with regards to the surrounding environment.
    To my surprise, the colors of examples you demonstrated perfectly match the direction they mean under the Feng shui system.
    (these colors are considered the attribute of Sì Xiàng, four Chinese symbols, that are representative of each direction.)

    In details:
    Azure Dragon(青龍) = East
    Vermilion Bird(朱雀) = South
    White Tiger(白虎) = West
    Black Tortoise(玄武) = North

    Maybe Chinese have the usage likely similar to Turkish. (Japanese doesn't have this usage in general but we know this knowledge as just a trivia)

    pink is associated with homosexuality

    růžová lobby (pink lobby) - homosexual lobby
    růžový byznys (pink business) - business oriented on homosexuals
    růžová turistika (pink tourism) - homosexual tourism
    It reminds me of the Pink triangle.
    Is this figurative symbol pink has general in other western languages?
     
    Last edited:

    ancalimon

    Senior Member
    Turkish
    I have you to thank for letting me know this quite interesting information. :)

    I suppose the usage of colors for direction in Turkish might come from Feng shui which is Chinese philosophical system with regards to the surrounding environment.
    To my surprise, the colors of examples you demonstrated perfectly match the direction they mean under the Feng shui system.
    (these colors are considered the attribute of Sì Xiàng, four Chinese symbols, that are representative of each direction.)

    In details:
    Azure Dragon(青龍) = East
    Vermilion Bird(朱雀) = South
    White Tiger(白虎) = West
    Black Tortoise(玄武) = North

    Maybe Chinese have the usage likely similar to Turkish. (Japanese doesn't have this usage in general but we know this knowledge as just a trivia)
    I think the same system exists among some Native American tribes as well.
     

    ger4

    Senior Member
    German
    [...] It reminds me of the Pink triangle.[...]
    This is another link with some very detailed information.
    Originally posted by ancalimon >>
    The most distinctive usage of colours in Turkish (and also other Turkic dialects and languages) are the directions. Sometimes the colour for certain directions change depending on the geography and location of that Turkic group.

    Kara (black): North. (kara also means land) (example: Kara Deniz ( Black Sea : Northern Sea ~ Sea between lands ))
    Ak (white) : West. (ak also means to flow, flowing of liquid) (example: Ak Deniz ( Mediterranean Sea : Western Sea ))
    Kızıl (red) : South. (example: Kızıl Deniz ( Red Sea : Southern Sea ))
    Mavi (blue) : East. (exampe: Kök Türk ~ Göktürk : Eastern Turks (kök also means blue))
    Looking for some more explanations and examples on the usage of colours with regard to directions in different cultures I came across this website.
    :warning: It's a text from 1898 - some expressions may sound a bit odd nowadays...
     
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    nimak

    Senior Member
    Macedonian
    Macedonian

    зелен (zélen) ['zɛlɛn] "green" in figurative usage means: very young, immature, inexperienced, naive
     
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