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Blue
Color icon blue.svg
 — Spectral coordinates —
Wavelength 440–490 nm
 — Common connotations —
ice, water, sky, sadness, winter, royalty, boys, cold, calm, magic, trueness (taken from the fact that the sky is blue in its constancy, i.e.: 'true blue', the sky is unwaveringly blue on a clear day), conservatism (universally), liberalism (US), and capitalism
About these coordinates About these coordinates
— Colour coordinates —
Hex triplet #0000FF
sRGBB (r, g, b) (0, 0, 255)
HSV (h, s, v) (240°, 100%, 100%)
Source HTML/CSS[1]
B: Normalized to [0–255] (byte)

Blue is a colour, the perception of which is evoked by light having a spectrum dominated by energy with a wavelength of roughly 440–490 nm. It is considered one of the additive primary colours. On the HSV Colour Wheel, the complement of blue is yellow; that is, a colour corresponding to an equal mixture of red and green light. On a colour wheel based on traditional colour theory (RYB), the complementary colour to blue is considered to be orange (based on the Munsell colour wheel).[2] The English language commonly uses "blue" to refer to any colour from navy blue to cyan. The word itself is derived from the Old French word bleu.

Contents

Etymology and definitions

A mushroom cap on its side revealing closely spaced, blue gills
Lactarius indigo is one of only a few blue-coloured mushrooms
image of a bush on tile; the background is blue
Blue Turkish Tiles
Image of a pier extending out in to a lake, with a clear sky above and mountains in the distance.
The sky and water often appear blue

The modern English word blue comes from the Middle English, bleu or blwe, which came from an Old French word bleu of Germanic origin (Frankish or possibly Old High German blao, "shining"). Bleu replaced Old English blaw. The root of these variations was the Proto-Germanic blæwaz, which was also the root of the Old Norse word bla and the modern Icelandic blár, and the Scandinavian word blå, but it can refer to other non blue colours. A Scots and Scottish English word for "blue-grey" is blae, from the Middle English bla ("dark blue", from the Old English blæd). Ancient Greek lacked a word for blue and Homer called the colour of the sea "wine dark", except that the word kyanos (cyan) was used for dark blue enamel. As a curiosity, blue is thought to be cognate with blond, blank and black through the Germanic word. Through a Proto-Indo-European root, it is also linked with Latin flavus ("yellow"; see flavescent and flavine), with Greek phalos (white), French blanc (white, blank) (borrowed from Old Frankish), and with Russian белый, belyi ("white," see beluga), and Welsh blawr (grey) all of which derive (according to the American Heritage Dictionary) from the Proto-Indo-European root *bhel- meaning "to shine, flash or burn", (more specifically the word bhle-was, which meant light coloured, blue, blond, or yellow), whence came the names of various bright colours, and that of colour black from a derivation meaning "burnt" (other words derived from the root *bhel- include bleach, bleak, blind, blink, blank, blush, blaze, flame, fulminate, flagrant and phlegm).

In the English language, blue may refer to the feeling of sadness. "He was feeling blue". This is because blue was related to rain, or storms, and in Greek mythology, the god Zeus would make rain when he was sad (crying), and a storm when he was angry. Kyanos was a name used in Ancient Greek to refer to dark blue tile (in English it means blue-green or cyan).[3] The phrase "feeling blue" is linked also to a custom among many old deepwater sailing ships. If the ship lost the captain or any of the officers during its voyage, she would fly blue flags and have a blue band painted along her entire hull when returning to home port.[4]

Many languages do not have separate terms for blue and or green, instead using a cover term for both (when the issue is discussed in linguistics, this cover term is sometimes called grue in English).

In science

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Pigments

Traditionally, blue has been considered a primary colour in painting, with the secondary colour orange as its complement.

Blue pigments include azurite (Cu3(CO3)2(OH)2), ultramarine (Na8-10Al6Si6O24S2-4), cerulean blue (primarily cobalt (II) stanate: Co2SnO4), cobalt blue (cobalt(II) aluminate: CoAl2O4), and Prussian blue (milori blue: primarily Fe7(CN)18).

Scientific natural standards for blue

  • Emission spectrum of Cu2+
  • Electronic spectrum of aqua-ions Cu(H2O)2+5

Animals

  • When an animal's coat is described as "blue", it usually refers to a shade of grey that takes on a bluish tint, a diluted variant of a pure black coat.[citation needed] This designation is used for a variety of animals, including dog coats, some rat coats, cat coats, some chicken breeds, some horse coat colours and rabbit coat colours. Some animals, such as Giraffes and Lizards, also have blue tongues.

In human culture

Symbolic language

  • In the English language, blue often represents the human emotion of sadness, e.g. "He was feeling blue". In German, on the other hand, to be "blue" (blau sein) is to be drunk. This derives from the ancient use of urine (which is produced copiously by the human body after drinking alcohol) in dyeing cloth blue with woad or indigo.[5] It may also be in relation to rain, which is usually regarded as a trigger of depressive emotions.[6]
  • Conversely blue, a very popular color[7] can represent happiness and optimism[8] as days with clearer, blue skies tend to be considered times where these emotions are more easily expressed. Many artistic contributions have been made referencing clear days with blue skies as part of the happiness or as a symbolism of the happiness the artist felt, such as Tony Bennett's Put on a Happy Face.[9] If this were untrue there would obviously be more complaints about days with clear blue skies.
  • Blue is commonly used in the Western hemisphere to symbolize the male gender in contrast to pink used for females.

National colours

A white menorah on a blue field. It is surrounded by white laurels, and at the bottom is the word "Israel" written in Hebrew.
Coat of Arms symbol of Israel

Mysticism

Politics

A man wearing a white robe with blue stripes stands in front of a stone wall.
Blue stripes on a traditional Jewish tallit.

Religion

  • Blue is associated in Christianity generally and Catholicism in particular, with the Virgin Mary.
  • Blue in Hinduism: Many of the gods are depicted as having blue-coloured skin, particularly those associated with Vishnu, who is said to be the Preserver of the world and thus intimately connected to water. Krishna and Ram, Vishnu's avatars, are usually blue. Shiva, the Destroyer, is also depicted in light blue tones and is called neela kantha, or blue-throated, for having swallowed poison in an attempt to turn the tide of a battle between the gods and demons in the gods' favour.
  • Blue in Judaism: In the Torah,[13] the Israelites were commanded to put fringes, tzitzit, on the corners of their garments, and to weave within these fringes a "twisted thread of blue (tekhelet)".[14] In ancient days, this blue thread was made from a dye extracted from a Mediterranean snail called the hilazon. Maimonides claimed that this blue was the colour of "the clear noonday sky"; Rashi, the colour of the evening sky.[15] According to several rabbinic sages, blue is the colour of God's Glory.[16] Staring at this colour aids in mediation, bringing us a glimpse of the "pavement of sapphire, like the very sky for purity", which is a likeness of the Throne of God.[17] (The Hebrew word for glory.) Many items in the Mishkan, the portable sanctuary in the wilderness, such as the menorah, many of the vessels, and the Ark of the Covenant, were covered with blue cloth when transported from place to place.[18]
  • Blue in Islam: In verse 20:102 of the Qur’an, the word زرق zurq (plural of azraq 'blue') is used metaphorically for evildoers whose eyes are glazed with fear, as if the sclera is filmed over with a bluish tint.

Symbolism

  • In Thailand, blue is associated with Friday on the Thai solar calendar. Anyone may wear blue on Fridays and anyone born on a Friday may adopt blue as their colour. The Thai language, however, is one that has had trouble distinguishing blue from green. The default word for Blue was recently สีน้ำเงิน literally, the colour of silver, a poetical reference to the silvery sheen of the deep blue sea. It now means Navy Blue, and the default word is now สีฟ้า literally, the colour of the sky.[19]

Variations

Light blue

Light Blue
About these coordinates About these coordinates
— Colour coordinates —
Hex triplet #ADD8E6
RGBB (r, g, b) (173, 216, 230)
HSV (h, s, v) (240°, 90%, 80%)
Source X11
B: Normalized to [0–255] (byte)

The web colour light blue is displayed in the colour box at right. Also could be known as sky blue, baby blue, or angel blue. The first recorded use of "light blue" as a colour term in English is in the year 1915.[20]

Medium blue

Medium blue
About these coordinates About these coordinates
— Colour coordinates —
Hex triplet #0000CD
RGBB (r, g, b) (0, 0, 205)
HSV (h, s, v) (240°, 100%, 40%)
Source X11
B: Normalized to [0–255] (byte)

Displayed at right is the colour medium blue.

Pigment blue

Pigment Blue
About these coordinates About these coordinates
— Colour coordinates —
Hex triplet #333399
RGBB (r, g, b) (51, 51, 153)
HSV (h, s, v) (240°, 50%, 35%)
Source CMYK
B: Normalized to [0–255] (byte)

At right is the colour pigment blue. This is the colour that is achieved by mixing an equal amount of process cyan (printer's cyan) and process magenta (printer's magenta).

Dark blue

Dark blue
About these coordinates About these coordinates
— Colour coordinates —
Hex triplet #00008B
RGBB (r, g, b) (0, 0, 139)
HSV (h, s, v) (240°, 100%, 25%)
Source X11
B: Normalized to [0–255] (byte)

Dark blue is a shade of blue. The name comes from the word "Dark" (which originated from Old English dark, derk, deork; Anglo-Saxon dearc, and Gaelic and Irish dorch, dorcha) and "Blue" (taken from French and originated from the Indo-European root bhlewos).

Variations of blue in culture

Cartography

  • In historical atlases published in Germany, light blue is traditionally used as a colour to represent Germany, as opposed to pink for England, purple for France, and light green for Russia.[21]

Fashion

Law Enforcement

  • In some parts of the world, police wear dark blue or, sometimes, medium blue uniforms.

Human sexuality

Sociology

See also

References

  1. ^ "W3C TR CSS3 Color Module, HTML4 color keywords". W3.org. http://www.w3.org/TR/css3-color/#html4. Retrieved 2009-04-14. 
  2. ^ "Glossary Term: Color wheel". Sanford-artedventures.com. http://www.sanford-artedventures.com/study/g_color_wheel.html. Retrieved 2009-04-14. 
  3. ^ Merriam-Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary Springfield, Mass.:1984--Merriam-Webster Page 319
  4. ^ "US Navy - origins of Navy Terminology"
  5. ^ Heller, Eva. Wie Farben wirken: Farbpsychologie, Farbsymbolik, kreative Farbgestaltung. Berlin: Rowohlt, 2004.
  6. ^ Top 10 weather complaints
  7. ^ Preferences - Favorite Color
  8. ^ Psychology of Color
  9. ^ "Put on a Happy Face" lyrics
  10. ^ "Estonia in brief: National Symbols" at Estonica website Estonica.org
  11. ^ Stevens, Samantha. The Seven Rays: a Universal Guide to the Archangels. City: Insomniac Press, 2004. ISBN 1894663497 pg. 24
  12. ^ Cheong Wa Dae / The Blue House, http://english.president.go.kr/tours/place_buildings/main_office.php, "The Main Building and its two annexes are covered with a total of 150,000 traditional Korean blue roof tiles (hence, the name "Blue House" is also commonly used when referring to Cheongwadae)." 
  13. ^ Numbers 15:38.
  14. ^ Tekhelet.com, the Ptil Tekhelet Organization
  15. ^ Mishneh Torah, Tzitzit 2:1; Commentary on Numbers 15:38.
  16. ^ Numbers Rabbah 14:3; Hullin 89a.
  17. ^ Exodus 24:10; Ezekiel 1:26; Hullin 89a.
  18. ^ Numbers 4:6-12.
  19. ^ Glenn Slayden. "Thai language". thai-language.com. http://www.thai-language.com/dict/. Retrieved 2009-04-14. 
  20. ^ Maerz and Paul A Dictionary of Color New York:1930 McGraw-Hill Page 190
  21. ^ See the Grosshistoricher Weltatlas, 1965 edition (Other German historical atlases use these same colours.)
  22. ^ Card showing list of bandana colours and their meanings, available at Image Leather, 2199 Market St., San Francisco, CA 94114
  23. ^ "Gay.ru". Gay.ru. http://english.gay.ru/life/history/queermoscow/. Retrieved 2009-04-14. 
  24. ^ The Cuckoo's Egg: Tracking a Spy Through the Maze of Computer Espionage, Clifford Stoll, 1989, ISBN 0-7434-1146-3
  25. ^ Shatner, William (with Chris Kreski) Star Trek Memories New York:1993 HarperCollins

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