Gray is the midway point between black and white, and tellingly the “gray area” is an area of indetermination, indecision, or ambiguity. The color gray is an emotionless, moody color that is typically associated with meanings of dull, dirty, and dingy, as well as formal, conservative, and sophisticated.
To be described as gray is rather less than flattering, since gray is such a subdued and neutral color, and implies that the person blends into the background.
However, gray is also a color of balance and reasonableness and is the color used, in photography, to balance all others. Dark, charcoal gray communicates some of the strength and mystery of black. It is a sophisticated color that lack the negativity of the color black. Light grays can carry some of the attributes of the color white.
Because people’s hair turns gray with age, the word is often used to describe elderly people and is also a color of wisdom.
For Christians, gray is the color of resurrection and is worn when people are coming out of the full black of mourning as the midway point on the journey to other colors.
Other meanings associated with the color gray:
- The phrase “gray matter” refers to smarts, intelligence, brains, and intellect.
- The saying “gray power” is used in reference to the power of the elderly or senior citizens.
- The term “gray page” is a text-heavy page with very little contrast or white space.
- The expression “gray-hair” is sometimes used to refer to an elderly person.
- The phrase “gray water” refers to dirty water such as water that has been drained from a bathtub or kitchen sink.
Collected from various sources.
- Death and Rebirth
- A Beginning and an End
- Mourning (in the far east)
White is both the absence of any color and the sum of all colors together, so in a sense it can mean everything or nothing. This combination of all colors has given white the name of the “many-colored lotus” in Buddhist teachings.
Probably the most telling of both ends of white’s symbolic spectrum are reflected in its associations with purity and a fresh start (as worn by brides in the Western tradition, as an optimistic sign of virginity) and as the color of mourning in the East, a use that used to be common in Europe, too. Cadavers all over the world are still wrapped in white shrouds and, as death precedes birth, the white here has an optimistic meaning, since in this instance, white symbolizes rebirth.
White is also used to denote initiation, another form of rebirth. Children wear white at their First Communion, and in Africa, boys smear their bodies with white paste after circumcision to show that they are apart from their main society for a time. When they re-enter, it is as men, their bodies are painted red.
The combination of all the colors is white; it is not a coincidence that this all encompassing color is possibly the most powerful. White has a wide variety of positive associations with the human psyche. White represents purity, cleanliness, innocence, oneness and truth. The symbolism continues with the fact that white light has long been associated with the journey to the afterlife. In short, white has a definitive connection to the spirit and an individual’s awakened spirituality.
White symbolizes purity and joy. White is the color of expectation and contains all the potential of the blank canvas. The pristine glory of a fresh fall of snow makes the world look clean and pure but white shows up every mark, hence its usefulness in hospitals and other clinical environments.
In certain cultures, white is the color of royalty or of religious figures, as angels are typically depicted as wearing white or having a white glow. A white picket fence surrounds a safe and happy home.
White is a symbol of peace, and the white flag is a universal sign of submission and surrender. However, the white feather is a sign of cowardice. This originates in the days of cock-fighting when a bird with a white feather in its tail was believed to be a poor fighter. The potency of this particular white symbol is such that, just after the Second World War, “an order of the White Feather” was started as a method of goading men into joining the army. Womenfolk were encouraged to hand the white feather of cowardice to any man not wearing a uniform.
Color Meanings in Bible:
- Manna (Exodus 16:31)
- Righteousness (Revelation 19:8)
- Forgiven sins (Psalms 5:7)
- The garments of angels (Revelation 15:6)
- Gravestones (Matthew 23:27)
- The throne of judgment (Revelation 20:11).
- White can also mean beauty (Song of Solomon 5:14)
- Costly decorations and wealth (I Kings 10:22)
Other meanings associated with the color white:
- The expression “white as snow” is used in reference to the pure, clean, and innocent.
- The saying “whiteout” means zero visibility.
- The phrase “white flag” is associated with meanings of surrender and relinquishment.
- The term “white elephant” refers to a rare or valuable item that is unwanted.
- The expression “pearly whites” refers to very white teeth.
- The phrase “whitewash” has meanings of cover up, secrecy, and concealment.
- The saying “white list” is a list of acceptable, good, or approved items.
- The term “white sale” means a store sale of sheets, towels, other linens.
- The phrase “white knight” represents one who comes to the rescue; a good and noble hero.
- The saying “white lightning” refers to moonshine or illegal whiskey.
- The expression “white knuckle” references something that is fast, exciting, or frightening.
Collected from various sources.