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
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
The English language
commonly uses "blue" to refer to any colour from navy blue
. The word itself is derived from the Old French
Etymology and definitions
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 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 colour 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) (loaned 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). 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.
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). Blue is commonly used on internet browsers to colour a link that has not been clicked; when a link has been clicked it changes yellow or orange or purple.
Traditionally, blue has been considered a primary colour in painting, with the secondary colour orange
as its complement.
Blue pigments include azurite, ultramarine, cerulean blue, cobalt blue, and Prussian blue (milori blue).
Scientific natural standards for blue
- Emission spectrum of Cu2+
- Electronic spectrum of aqua-ions Cu(H2O)52+
- 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. This designation is used for a variety of animals, including dog coats, some rat coats, cat coats, some chicken breeds, and some horse coat colours.
Blue in human culture
- In the English language, blue often represents the human emotion of sadness, e.g. "He was feeling blue".
- The blues is a style of music originated by African Americans. Contrary to popular belief it is not called Blues because its lyrics are depressing but because its scale is inclusive of the "dark notes" or blue notes.
- In 1999 Eiffel 65 released the song "Blue (Da Ba Dee)," a hugely popular Eurodance song which peaked at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States, and reached #1 in 17 countries.
- Blue is also the name of an English pop boy band.
- Light Blue and white are the national colours of the Argentina Republic, in South America.
- Azzurro (meaning sky), a light blue, is the national colour of Italy (from the livery colour of the former reigning family, the House of Savoy).
- Blue is the national sports colour for India, as it denotes secularism.
- Blue is the national colour used on flags of several countries surrounded by seas or oceans such as Australia and Europe, though not necessarily with this interpretation in mind.
- Blue and white are the national colours of Somalia, Scotland, Finland, Greece, Israel and the Central American countries of Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, and Nicaragua, as well as of the United Nations Organization using a light shade of blue symbolizing peace.
- Blue and yellow are the national colours of Sweden, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, and Barbados, and along with green, of Brazil, and along with red, of Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Chad, Romania, and Moldova.
- Red and blue are the national colours of Liechtenstein and Haiti, and along with white (where it composed the French tricolour whose simple design or colours were taken by other countries), the United Kingdom, The United States, France, Luxembourg, Norway, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, the Netherlands, Costa Rica, Serbia, Croatia, Paraguay, Iceland, Panama, Russia, Cuba, Chile, Thailand, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Liberia, Nepal, and Slovenia.
- 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, 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)". 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. According to several rabbinic sages, blue is the colour of God's Glory. 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. (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.
- 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.
- In the early 1960s, the United States Air Force ran a television commercial with this jingle:
They took the blue from the skies
And the pretty girls' eyes
And a touch of Old Glory too;
And gave it to the men who proudly wear the U. S. Air Force Blue!
Variations of 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).
Displayed at right is the colour medium blue
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.
At right is the color pigment blue. This is the color that is achieved by mixing an equal amount of process cyan (printer's cyan) and process magenta (printer's magenta).
Variations of blue in culture
- Dark blue represents knowledge, power, integrity, and seriousness. In Western civilization, those in the upper classes in high places of political or economic power often wear dark blue suits. Ordinary members of the working class (especially those who work in the computer industry) often refer derisively to these management functionaries as the suits. This terminology is also used in the television industry--the network executives are often referred to by the creative people (actors, directors, and screenwriters) as the suits.
- 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.