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Spectral coordinates
Wavelength 440–490 nm
— Common connotations —
ice, water, sky, sadness, winter, royalty, boys, cold, calm, conservatism (universally), liberalism (US), and capitalism
About these coordinatesAbout 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.


[edit] 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 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).

[edit] In science

The sky and water often appear blue.

[edit] 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).

[edit] Scientific natural standards for blue

  • Emission spectrum of Cu2+
  • Electronic spectrum of aqua-ions Cu(H2O)52+

[edit] Animals

[edit] Blue in human culture

[edit] 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]

[edit] Music

The Blue Man Group
  • The Blue Man Group is a performance arts and experimental rock band whose members are painted blue.
  • Blue is the name of the original Scottish rock group
  • Blue is also the name of an English pop boy band.

[edit] National colours

Flag of Greece
Coat of Arms symbol of Israel
Flag of Somalia
  • Blue, white and black are the national colours of Estonia.[6]

[edit] Mysticism

[edit] Politics

  • Blue has been associated with a variety of political positions, often differentiated from communist red or anarchist black. During the revolt in the Vendée against the French revolution, blues stood for the revolutionary forces, and white for the counter-revolutionaries. Later movements like the Breton blues used the colour to signify allegiance to the ideals of the revolution.[citation needed]
Blue stripes on a traditional Jewish tallit.

[edit] Religion

  • 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,[11] 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)".[12] 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.[13] According to several rabbinic sages, blue is the colour of God's Glory.[14] 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.[15] (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.[16]
  • 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.
  • Blue in Christianity: This colour in some traditions is sometimes associated with the clothing of heavenly figures, most commonly (especially in the Catholic tradition) that of Saint Mary. Ironically, it also has connections with the deadly sin of lust.

[edit] 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.[17]
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!

[edit] Variations of blue

[edit] Dark blue

Dark blue
About these coordinatesAbout 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).

[edit] Medium blue

Medium blue
About these coordinatesAbout 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.

[edit] Light blue

Light Blue
About these coordinatesAbout 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.[18]

[edit] Pigment blue

Pigment Blue
About these coordinatesAbout 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).

[edit] Variations of blue in culture


Drawing of police officer

Law Enforcement



[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. ^ W3C TR CSS3 Color Module, HTML4 color keywords
  2. ^ Glossary Term: Color wheel
  3. ^ Merriam-Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary Springfield, Mass.:1984--Merriam-Webster Page 319
  4. ^ "US Navy - origins of Navy Terminology" [1]
  5. ^ Heller, Eva. Wie Farben wirken: Farbpsychologie, Farbsymbolik, kreative Farbgestaltung. Berlin: Rowohlt, 2004.
  6. ^ "Estonia in brief: National Symbols" at Estonica website ([2]
  7. ^ Bailey, Alice A. (1995). The Seven Rays of Life. New York: Lucis Publishing Company. ISBN 0853301425. 
  8. ^ Stevens, Samantha. The Seven Rays: a Universal Guide to the Archangels. City: Insomniac Press, 2004. ISBN 1894663497 pg. 24
  9. ^ Swami Panchadasi The Human Aura: Astral Colors and Thought Forms Des Plaines, Illinois, USA:1912--Yogi Publications Society Page 36
  10. ^ Oslie, Pamalie Life Colors: What the Colors in Your Aura Reveal Novato, California:2000--New World Library Blue Auras: Pages 117-130
  11. ^ Numbers 15:38.
  12. ^ The Ptil Tekhelet Organization
  13. ^ Mishneh Torah, Tzitzit 2:1; Commentary on Numbers 15:38.
  14. ^ Numbers Rabbah 14:3; Hullin 89a.
  15. ^ Exodus 24:10; Ezekiel 1:26; Hullin 89a.
  16. ^ Numbers 4:6-12.
  17. ^
  18. ^ Maerz and Paul A Dictionary of Color New York:1930 McGraw-Hill Page 190
  19. ^ Card showing list of bandana colours and their meanings, available at Image Leather, 2199 Market St., San Francisco, CA 94114
  20. ^
  21. ^ The Cuckoo's Egg: Tracking a Spy Through the Maze of Computer Espionage, Clifford Stoll, 1989, ISBN 0-7434-1146-3
  22. ^ Shatner, William (with Chris Kreski) Star Trek Memories New York:1993 Harper Collins
  23. ^ See the Grosshistoricher Weltatlas, 1965 edition (Other German historical atlases use these same colours.)
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