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Color Meaning: Meaning of The Color Black

This post is part of the Color Meaning Blog Series, detailing the meanings associated with colors such as red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, grey, black, white, brown, pink, turquoise, gold, silver, and beige.

Black is associated with power, fear, mystery, strength, authority, elegance, formality, death, evil, and aggression, authority, rebellion, and sophistication. Black is required for all other colors to have depth and variation of hue.

The black color is the absence of color. Black is a mysterious color that is typically associated with the unknown or the negative. The color black represents strength, seriousness, power, and authority. Black is a formal, elegant, and prestigious color. Authoritative and powerful, the color black can evoke strong emotions and too much black can be overwhelming.

In heraldry, black is the symbol of grief. The color black can be serious, professional, and conventional, but black can also represent the mysterious, sexy, and sophisticated. Black is a visually slimming color for clothing and like other dark colors, in interior design, black can make a room appear to shrink in size.

The color black affects the mind and body by helping to create an inconspicuous feeling, boosting confidence in appearance, increasing the sense of potential and possibility, or producing feelings of emptiness, gloom, or sadness.

In western countries black is the color of mourning, death, and sadness. Black often represents the emotions and actions of rebellion in teenagers and youth. The color black can represent both the positive and the negative. As the opposite of white, movies, books, print media, and television typically depict the good guy in white and the bad guy in black. In more recent times, the good guy is shown in black to create mystery around the character’s identity.

Other meanings associated with the color black:

  • The phrase “black tie” refers to a formal event or dress code.
  • The saying “pitch black” references no light or no visibility.
  • The term “black-hearted” describes an evil person.
  • A “black belt” is an expert level in martial arts.
  • The expression “blackwash” is to bring things out in the open.
  • The phrase “in the black” refers to having money or profiting and doing well in business.
  • A “black box” is a piece of equipment or apparatus usually used in airplanes.
  • A “black eye” is damage to an eye, including bruising and discoloration, or damage to one’s reputation.
  • A “black sheep” is an outcast from a family or from society.
  • The expression “men in black” refer to government agents.
  • A “blacklist” is a list of people or organizations to boycott, avoid, or punish.
  • The term “blackguard” is used to reference a bad guy or a scoundrel.
  • The word “blackmail” refers to obtaining something by threat.
  • The word “blackout” means a loss of electricity, loss of visibility, turning out the lights, loss of consciousness, or the act of erasing or deleting something.
  • The phrase “black market” refers to the illegal trade of goods or money.

Additional words that represent different shades, tints, and values of the color black: ebony, jet, ink, lampblack, coal, soot, charcoal, raven, midnight, obsidian, onyx, sable.

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Comments & Feedback:Check out what others have to say about this post!

  1. Benjamin Geddie

    Hello there Jennifer. First I would like to thank you for the insight into the meanings of color. I have a question about the color black. I am a black belt in tae kwon do, and part of my training was to learn the meanings and the colors behind the belts. My instructor explained to me that the highest ranking belt is black because black is the only color that absorbs all the colors and reflects none. Meaning that at a black belt level you have absorbed all the other colored belts and a new journey begins. I’ve been led to believe this for years now, but your web page it says the opposite. I was just wondering you could bring some clarity to my confusion

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