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Color Meaning: Meaning of The Color White

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.

White, an inherently positive color, is associated with purity, virginity, innocence, light, goodness, heaven, safety, brilliance, illumination, understanding, cleanliness, faith, beginnings, sterility, spirituality, possibility, humility, sincerity, protection, softness, and perfection.
The color white can represent a successful beginning. In heraldry, white depicts faith and purity. As the opposite of black, movies, books, print media, and television typically depict the good guy in white and the bad guy in black.
The color of snow, white is often used to represent coolness and simplicity. White’s association with cleanliness and sterility is often seen in hospitals, medical centers, and laboratories to communicate safety. The color white is also associated with low-fat foods and dairy products.

To the human eye, white is a bright and brilliant color that can cause headaches. In cases of extremely bright light, the color white can even be blinding.

Throughout the western countries white is the traditional color worn by brides, to signify purity, innocence, and virginity. In eastern countries, the color white is the color of mourning and funerals. In certain cultures, white is the color of royalty or of religious figures, as angels are typically depicted as wearing white or having a white glow. A white picket fence surrounds a safe and happy home.

The color white affects the mind and body by aiding in mental clarity, promoting feelings of fresh beginnings and renewal, assisting in cleansing, clearing obstacles and clutter, and encouraging the purification of thoughts and actions.

White gemstones are believed to help create new beginnings, remove prejudice and pre-conceived notions, to see the innocence in others, and to clear emotional clutter and silence the inner critic.

Other meanings associated with the color white:

  • The expression “white as snow” is used in reference to the pure, clean, and innocent.
  • The saying “whiteout” means zero visibility.
  • The phrase “white flag” is associated with meanings of surrender and relinquishment.
  • The term “white elephant” refers to a rare or valuable item that is unwanted.
  • The expression “pearly whites” refers to very white teeth.
  • The phrase “whitewash” has meanings of cover up, secrecy, and concealment.
  • The saying “white list” is a list of acceptable, good, or approved items.
  • The term “white sale” means a store sale of sheets, towels, other linens.
  • The phrase “white knight” represents one who comes to the rescue; a good and noble hero.
  • The saying “white lightning” refers to moonshine or illegal whiskey.
  • The expression “white knuckle” references something that is fast, exciting, or frightening.

Additional words that represent different shades, tints, and values of the color white: snow, pearl, antique white, ivory, chalk, milk white, lily, smoke, seashell, old lace, cream, linen, ghost white, beige, cornsilk, alabaster, paper, whitewash.

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