The three colors that represent jealousy are green, yellow, and purple.
The most dominant of these is green. Green has a long history of symbolizing jealousy dating all the way back to the Ancient Greeks and Shakespeare. Yellow, a color similar to green, can also sometimes be a symbol of jealousy or envy.
These colors are frequently used in cartoons and paintings to evoke a sense that the character within a scene is a jealous person.
1. Green As A Color Of Jealousy
Jealousy is often described in modern language and literature as the “green-eyed monster”, owing to two of Shakespeare’s plays, “Merchant of Venice” and “Othello” whose main characters used this phrase in their dialogues.
The use of the term monster likens jealousy to a violent beast that attacks a person’s mind and emotions.
But green can also have positive connotations. On the positive side, green also means abundance, growth, and renewal due to its association with nature. It is seen in grass and leaves, which makes it a very visible color worldwide. It can soothe and relax the mind, which helps relieve stress and anxiety.
It could thus be surprising to have this color associated with a negative emotion like jealousy.
To be fair, not all green shades are associated with this emotion. Darker shades are more closely linked to wealth and prosperity, while the lighter shades that are tinged with yellow are related to jealousy and weakness.
There is also a historical precedent for associating green with jealousy which can be traced back to ancient Greeks. They believed that feelings of envy and jealousy were triggered by the body’s overproduction of bile, which turns the skin into a shade of green.
Green started getting negative associations such as with treachery and witchcraft during the Middle Ages.
This is because early painters found the color to be unstable, constantly changing hues and shades, and thus was likened to a person who keeps changing sides or personalities to suit the environment.
In the modern English language, green is used in other idioms to indicate negative emotions such as of jealousy and envy aside from “green-eyed monster”. Here are some examples :
- Green with jealousy or Green with envy describes a person who is feeling bad or in a bad mood due to jealousy or envy.
- Grass is always greener on the other side indicates the perception that other people’s circumstances are better than what one has at present.
- Green around the gills describes a sick-looking person.
- Go green on someone indicates an act of treachery or betrayal
- Wear a green hat signifies that someone has been cheated on by a romantic partner.
- To greenwash means illegally procuring money and then make them appear as if they have been acquired through legal means
- Wear the green willow signifies mourning for lost love, or sadness over unrequited love
2. Yellow As A Color Of Jealousy
Yellow usually indicates optimism and feelings of joy, excitement, and enlightenment. It is the color of sunlight and often brings warmth and cheer. However, in certain cultures, and depending on the context of its use, yellow can also represent jealousy, betrayal, cowardice, and guilt.
While most countries around the world associate yellow with positive values and emotions, certain countries, such as France and Germany, have darker connotations for this shade.
In Germany, yellow is related to jealousy and envy, while similarly in France, it signifies jealousy and betrayal. In France during the 10th century, people would mark the houses criminals and traitors live by splashing yellow paint on their doors.
In Christianity, there are references to yellow being a negative color.
The bible mentions yellow a few times in relation to leprosy. There were also instances of using yellow to indicate death of the body or the spirit. Judas was also said to be wearing yellow robes when he betrayed Jesus in the New Testament, which is why yellow became associated with cowardice and betrayal.
3. Purple As A Color Of Jealousy
Purple is mostly known for its positive values such as majesty, power, authority, wealth, fantasy, magic, and imagination. But in certain cultures, it takes on negative connotations such as evil and terror for the Japanese, and wrath, jealousy, or bitterness for the Polish.
Its name was derived from the Latin word “purpura” and the Greek word “porphyra”, both of which referred to the dye used by the nobility in the ancient times, called the Tyrian purple dye.
Because this was very rare and expensive at the time, only the wealthy families were able to afford this color, hence it came to be known as the color of the rich and noble.
In psychology, purple has an energizing effect on the body. It can also soothe the nerves and promote serenity. When used together with other colors, purple can tone down the visual impact of red, orange, and yellow.
FAQ: What is the Difference Between Jealousy and Envy?
Jealousy and envy are often used interchangeably, but they are actually not the same. It can sometimes be confusing because even the same colors are sometimes used to represent these two distinct emotions, and these are yellow, green, and purple.
Envy refers to the desire for someone else’s possession, not just materially, but also in terms of skills, status in life, appearance, or intellect. Jealousy, on the other hand, is mostly about the fear of losing something or someone.
This fear is usually rooted in a weak sense of self-worth, lack of trust in the other person or in relationships in general, and an unhealthy desire to be in control.
Because of this, jealousy is often used in reference to partnerships and romantic relationships, as there is a natural possessiveness in people who are in love.
However, jealousy is not just limited to this context. It can also occur among siblings, colleagues, or friends due to fears of losing power, authority, status, or opportunity.
Jealousy often results in feelings of anger, disappointment, panic, anxiety, or insecurity which affects one’s mood, mental health, and overall well-being. It is detrimental to the body as it can cause heart attack, body pain, or increased blood pressure. It can also slow down the body’s ability to heal.
Jealousy is an unhealthy emotion that sometimes cannot be avoided. As long as there is something that you consider valuable or important, you will always feel a possessive instinct towards that person or object. And with possessiveness comes the fear of losing ownership, which then leads to jealousy.
However, this emotion can still be controlled to the extent that will prevent it from damaging your mental and physical health, as well as your life, carer, and interpersonal relationships. Having a healthy dose of self-awareness and self-confidence are two important factors that will help control jealous impulses.
If you notice yourself being jealous, take a step back and analyze the situation objectively before taking any action. When objectivity is compromised, having a third person go over the details with you will help bring clarity to the circumstances.
I’m Chris and I run this website – a resource about symbolism, metaphors, idioms, and a whole lot more! Thanks for dropping by.