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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Sound of White - Meaning and Symbolism of the Color White

First of all, is white considered a color?

Well, that will depend on whom you ask. If you ask a scientist, you will likely be told that while black is the absence of light or color, white is considered to be the presence of all colors. However, if you were to ask an artist, you may be told the reverse: white is the absence of color, black is all colors.

Regardless of the debate between science and art, white is often thought to symbolize purity, cleanliness, neutrality and innocence. Culturally, in most Western countries, white is the color commonly chosen for bridal gowns. In the East, it's the color for mourning and funerals. White is often associated with hospitals, doctors, nurses, and dentists. Angels are typically depicted as wearing white. In many cultures white represents openness and truth. White has an inherent cold quality.

Sayings that include white

  • White as the driven snow - pure, clean, innocent
  • White Christmas: the appearance of snow on Christmas day
  • White elephant: a possession that no longer holds value for its owner
  • White knight - someone who comes to another person's rescue, someone perceived as being good, noble
  • White list - list of good or acceptable items
  • White lie: a harmless untruth usually told out of politeness
  • White goods: a description of household items, such as linens, towels, and appliances
  • White knuckle - something that is fast, exciting, or frightening
  • White feather: a symbol of cowardice

Words synonymous white

Snow, pearl, antique white, ivory, chalk, milk white, lily, linen, ghost white, paper, whitewash.

Physical affects of the color white Aid for mental clarity
  • Encourages the clearance of clutter or obstacles
  • Evokes purification of thoughts or actions
  • Enables fresh beginnings

Put some white in your life if you want:
  • to clear clutter and obstacles away
  • to start a fresh beginning
  • to bring about mental clarity
  • purification of thoughts or actions


White gemstones are associated with the Moon, sleep and psychic energy. They are often used for good fortune and protection.

Interesting facts about white
  • In Chinese culture, colors corresponded with the five primary elements, the directions, and the four seasons. White was associated with metal, west, and autumn.
  • A white flag is universally recognized as a symbol of truce.
  • The ancient Greeks wore white to bed to ensure pleasant dreams.
  • In the Bible, white represents the color of light and is an emblem of the divine.
  • More shades of white are available commercially than any other color.
  • Quotes about white

"The first of all single colors is white ... We shall set down white for the representative of light, without which no color can be seen; yellow for the earth; green for water; blue for air; red for fire; and black for total darkness." -- Leonardo Da Vinci

“The great black and white draftsman, the sculptor, and the blind man know that form and color are separate. The form itself is what the blind man knows...Color is surface skin that fits over the form.” -- John Sloan

Songs with white in the title
  • “Nights in White Satin” by the Moody Blues
  • "White Men in Black Suits" by Everclear
  • "White Queen (As It Began)" by Queen on Queen II
  • "White Riot" by The Clash
  • “White Wedding” by Billy Idol
  • “Whiter Shade of Pale” by Procol Harum
  • "The Sound of White" - Missy Higgins (My fave "white" song)
So, I will leave you to decide for yourself if you think white is a color (or colour as it is spelled elsewhere) and what it means to you.

Until next time,



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