Alberta Cancer Foundation

Top 9 colours and their meaning

Here is a brief explanation of what everyday colours mean or are associated with. Note that meanings can differ between cultures and countries.

Red: Love, danger, anger, adventure, fire, magic and religious meaning. International colour for “stop.” Most popularly used flag colour. “Good luck” in Asia.

Yellow: Happiness, optimism, enlightenment, creativity, spring, caution, cowardice, betrayal and physical illness (jaundice).

Blue: Water, sky, cold, trust, dignity, authority, cleanliness, strength, peace, ethereality, understanding and depression. (The shade changes its meaning.) Favourite colour for most people everywhere.

Green: Growth, fertility, luck (good and bad, depending on culture), envy, nature, environment and shamrocks. International traffic light colour.

Purple: Supernatural meanings, nobility, luxury, spirituality, creativity, dignity, magic, conceit, mourning and bravery. (The armed forces award a Purple Heart for valour.) Rare in nature, it’s a love-it or hate-it colour.

Orange: Vibrancy, heat, health, fruit, engagement, cheer, excitement, good health, autumn, abrasiveness and crassness. Various shades: terracotta, pumpkin, cayenne, salmon. Used for visibility: traffic cones, prison uniforms and work vests.

Pink: Compassion, nurture, love, femininity, romance, hope, calm, and understanding. Associated with pink slip (bad luck), tickled pink (good luck), pink Cadillac, flamingos, Pepto Bismol, sunsets, baby girls and sunburn.

Black: Mystery, power, control, intimidation, unfriendliness, discipline, independence, authority, sophistication, elegance and confidence. Absorption of all colour and absence of light.

White: Purity, innocence, wholeness, equality, fairness, awakening, creativity, cleanliness, encouragement, protection, peace, comfort, new beginnings, sterility, cold, emptiness and efficiency.

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