As children, we are taught the names and meanings of things. Children trust what they are taught, and they assume what they are told is true. We are taught that the sky is what we look up at when we are outside, and water is what fills up our bathtubs. We also learn that the color of these two examples is “blue.” In the Merriam-Webster’s School Dictionary, one of the first definitions of “blue” is stated as “The color of the clear daytime sky: a color lying between green and violet in the spectrum.” Even though the definition provided for the word “blue” contains examples, we are easily able to interpret the meaning of the word “blue” because of what we were taught growing up.
As children begin to mature, their vocabulary develops, as well as their ability to learn the extended meanings of words. Along with the color definition of “blue,” the word also takes on many allusive meanings. “Blue” can be used to characterize many aspects of a person’s everyday life. But just as the word has positive symbolic meaning, it can be used to describe unfavorable aspects as well.
Just as our planet Earth is described as the “Blue Planet” because of the abundance of water it carries, the color “blue” also symbolizes life and nature. In nature, the labels used are very literal. If the object being described is “blue” in color, “blue” will usually be included in its name. Even though the name will give you an idea of what it may look like, the underlying significance is not as obvious. A “blue” jay often symbolizes intelligence and faithfulness. While a “blue” whale can symbolize well-being and emotional depth. A “blue” sapphire, which is also found in nature, contributes to mental clarity. Even though each of these examples have a blue coloring, each has a different shade and symbolism, giving the word “blue” a different meaning each time it is used.
Furthermore, “blue” is often used to describe people. For example, “blue collar” was first used in the 1920’s to describe a working class person who performs manual labor in the United States. They wore blue shirts, as opposed to the white collar shirts of businessmen. A “bluebeard,” on the other hand, is a man who marries and kills one wife after another. The...