Why is envy (or jealousy) green? Is it the same color in other cultures?
Martyn Fairbrother, Paris
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A fascinating question. The answer includes angry Romans and blue-eyed northern invaders. Blue cheese
Is it surely from Othello?
Oh, beware, my lord, of jealousy;
It’s the green-eyed monster that taunts
The meat it feeds on
I know that jealousy and envy are not the same, but you get the idea. (In the play, “jealousy” means “suspicion” before some know-it-alls point it out). JonFruit
The same phrase appears in Merchant of Venice where Portia says (I looked up this):
How all other passions float in the air,
Like doubtful thoughts and hasty despair,
And chilling fear and green-eyed jealousy!
In the Metamorphoses of Ovid, the personification of Envy, when seeing the beautiful Minerva:
A treasure of gall possessed his entrails,
And spread greenery on his canker chest
There are several translations and not all refer to green. The first translation from Latin directly into English was that of Arthur Golding in 1567, and it does use green:
The work of his festering gall had made his stomach turn green.
So the use of green to denote envy predates Shakespeare’s writings, albeit by about 30 years, instead of 1,500. BellaTheCook
The Latin text (Ov, Met, II, 777) is “its full bloom“, Literally: breasts (chest) they are green (Mountain range) intense (with gall). The Latin verb “vireo“It means” to be green, green “. Bibianca
The ancient Greeks believed that envy or jealousy was caused by the overproduction of bile, which gave the complexion a greenish hue. In the 7th century BC. C., Safo described a former lover as green. Mutual
I’m picky, but … Sappho describes herself as green, when looking at her ex-lover with someone else. But it could also mean that you feel pale and clammy, since Greek has many shades. checkoutthechintz
Ex lover? We don’t know where she is in the relationship, if there ever was one. It’s about your wish. He says it is “paler than grass.” Cinbrooklyn
It seems to me that we turn green when we feel bad, with dizziness, with drinking (not me, of course, but others), and we lose our appetite for the delights of life. Envy will have the same effect, an upset that spoils.
Envy is orange in Much Ado About Nothing, when Beatriz tells of Count Claudio when the latter mistakenly believes that his prince, Don Pedro, has pounced and stole his beloved (act 2, scene 1).
The count is not sad, or sick, or happy, or
good; but the civil count, civil as an orange, and
some of that jealous complexion.
(Civil = Seville, that is, where the oranges grow) Krzysztof Odyniec
Green was a very difficult color to replicate. Green plant dyes quickly turn brown, while the ancient Egyptians tested malachite, which has a tendency to turn black. The ancient Greeks renounced green almost entirely, the four classic colors of Greek painting being yellow, red, black, and white. So maybe green was the elusive color everyone tried to copy; jealousy, the emotion shown towards those who handled it. absinthe20
Also in Italy we say green out of envy: “green with envy”. We also say “green like bile“(Green like bile) and that explains why green: bile is green, and it has to do with anger. Anna Brancaleon
In German we say that hope is green, yellow is envy, blue is being
faithful and red is obviously love. We go “yellow with envy “ – yellow with envy. Interestingly, there is also the saying “green with envy”, green with envy … but “Green is hope”,“ Hope is green ”. I do not know why. Young people may not know it anymore, but my grandmother, born in 1911, always used to associate colors with feelings. In Spanish “green someone“,” To make someone green “means” to spit “, but green is also the color of hope. As well “green movies“,” Green movies “are” dirty “= pornographic movies. Karen Fischer, Göttingen
A familiar Dutch expression is “See green with jealousy”, so yeah, same here! Riki simons
Swedish: “Green of jealousy “- green with envy. Anna Carlgren
The same in Danish, literally. “Green of envy “ = green with envy. Of daily and common use. Christian hansen
It is also green in Spanish: “green with envy”. Blue and Red Raven
In Portuguese, “green with envy”. mean sardine
It is yellow in Hungarian. “Yellow envy“, like in “eat yellow envy”-“ Yellow envy is consuming me ”, or literally,“ yellow envy is devouring me ”. Katalin me
In the Philippines, green is associated with sexual thoughts, the phrase “green movie” has a similar meaning to a blue movie in English. If someone is described as “green minded”, it means that they are always thinking about sex. Rickhartland
In Ukraine, where I am from, and indeed in other Slavic cultures, we have white envy and black envy. White envy means that you are happy for other people and wish you had what they have too. The black variety implies that if you don’t have it, no one should. OkanaSammer
The Finns are arguably some of the most envious people on this planet (and I mean that as such). There is a Finnish saying, which roughly translates to “envy even pulls all fish out of the water”, which means what a destructive force it is. Mikko
Green also in Norway. Megalope
Green is also associated with naivety. Sadness blue. Red with anger. Then there’s the purple prose, being in a brown studio, and the black comedy. The association of colors with emotions is really fascinating. Big question. bad footprints
In Spanish, “one Vgreen eye“He’s a dirty old man, and a lewd joke is”a dirty joke”. lolwhites
In China, pornographic films are “yellow”. Liuzhoukaf
I don’t know about the color association, but I think a term for being jealous in China is “drinking vinegar”, which is a great analogy. ChiantiRioja
In China, wearing a green hat means being cuckold. bkkmei
They are expressions in various languages, showing some of the various emotions expressed metaphorically through color and eye movement. It was part of an exhibition, Seeing with the Naked Eye by artist Mary Kuper for the Soas Endangered Languages Archive, highlighting her efforts to document endangered languages and celebrate language diversity. Here are some of the illustrated eye metaphors: Sheep, Masai, Persian, Tunisian Arabic, English, and Chinese.
In Maasai, the eyes are black when envious, but in Ewe, the eyes are “macro-red” when envious.
Tunisian Arabic: “The world went dark in my eyes / I saw everything dark” (I was mad with anger); “I made her eyes red” (I gave her an angry look); “His eye is rough”, “His eye is salty”, “His eye is itchy” (he is envious).
Persian: “He / she is envious of our progress” (literally, cannot see our progress). He “hates me” (out of envy) (lit. he has no eye to see me). “He / she is envious of us” (literally, his / her eye goes blind to us). “He / she is envious of us” (lit. the ball of his eye came out for us).
Chinese: hee-yan (impatient / anxious eyes) “get angry; I feel anxious “; sha-yan (stupid eyes) “be dumbfounded; be astonished ”; bai-yan (white eyes) “arrogant look; contemptuous look ”; hong-yan (red eyes) “see red; rage; be jealous”; yan-hong (red eyes) “covet; to be jealous; be jealous; to be furious “; yan-re (burning eyes) “covet; to be jealous”; yan-chan (greedy eye) “cast greedy eyes to; covet; to be jealous”. Mary Kuper, London
Dammit! How I wish I had thought of that question. Now I am ultramarine leaning slightly towards the violet of jealousy. There is no owl
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism