White is truth. White is innocence. In many cultures white is associated with openness. In chromotherapy, white helps provide mental clarity and encourages new beginnings.
White is the presence of all color. White clothing reflects heat because it reflects all visible wavelengths. Albinism is the complete or partial absence of pigment in the skin, hair, and eyes. An example of this is pictured below. Note that an organism with a diminished amount of pigment is leucistic or albinoid, and their eyes are the normal color for the species.
- Fear of white: leukophobia
- White symbolizes protection and precision.
- White symbolizes purity and virginity.
- White symbolizes peace, humility, and faith.
- White is associated with good, innocence, perfection, honesty, cleanliness, and beginnings.
Superstitions and Beliefs
- In most Western countries, bridal gowns are white to represent purity.
- In many Eastern cultures, white is the color for mourning and funerals.
- In Asian counties, white is the color of reincarnation.
- White was also the color of mourning for medieval European queens.
- To Buddhists, white is the color of redemption.
- In Hinduism, white symbolizes pure consciousness and light.
- Ancient Greeks wore white to bed to ensure pleasant dreams.
- In ancient Egypt, white was associated with the goddess Isis. The priests and priestesses of Isis dressed in white linen.
- In ancient Rome, the priestesses of the goddess Vesta dressed in white.
- In Thailand, it is unlucky to wear white on Tuesdays.
- In Thailand, a white elephant is considered auspicious.
- Some American Indian tribes consider white a lucky color.
- White daisies symbolize innocence.
- White roses symbolize innocence and purity.
- A combination of white and red roses represents unity.
- White jasmine is the Hindu symbol for love.
- In Christianity, white lilies represent the Virgin Mary.
- In ancient Egypt, white represented purity and omnipotence. Many sacred animals were white.
- In the Middle Ages and Renaissance, white was worn by widows who were in mourning.
- In the Middle Ages and Renaissance, a white unicorn symbolized chastity and a white lamb symbolized sacrifice and purity.
- American Indians associate white face paint with sharing, peace, and purity, and white war paint with mourning.
- Dreaming of a white horse is said to be foreboding or represent death.
- White is associated with ghosts and phantoms.
- In heraldry, silver or white (argent) signifies truth, sincerity, peace, innocence and purity.
- In ancient Egypt, white clothing and sandals were worn during religious rituals.
- The ancient Romans had two words for white: albus, a plain white and candidus, a brighter white.
- In ancient Rome, a white toga was a symbol of citizenship.
- French kings often wore white as a symbol of their royalty while the queens wore black.
- It wasn’t until the Renaissance period that artist began mixing white with other colors.
- In Shintoism, a sacred place, called a niwa, is marked with white gravel or stones.
- The Queen of the United Kingdom traditionally wears white when she opens the session of Parliament.
- In high society, debutantes traditionally wear white for their first ball.
Pigment & Dyes
- Calcite, or chalk, was one the first white pigment used by Paleolithic artists.
- The ancient Greeks used lead white. Lead white was used until the late 20th century. It was toxic.
Phrases and Sayings
Like white on rice – a USA phrase meaning to do something extremely close to something else
Pearly whites – teeth
White as a sheet – pale, frightened
White as the driven snow – pure, clean, innocent
White Christmas – the appearance of snow on Christmas day
White-collar – someone working in management
White elephant – something rare and valuable but perhaps unwanted, in the United States it refers to a party game where party-goers bring an unusual, odd, useless, or weird gift to exchange with someone else.
White feather – a symbol of cowardice
White flag – surrender, truce
White hot – intensely enthusiastic, glowing white with heat
White knight – someone who comes to another person’s rescue, someone perceived as being good
White knuckle – something that is fast, exciting, or frightening
White lie – a harmless untruth usually told out of politeness
White lightning – moonshine (illegal whiskey)
White list – list of good or acceptable items
Whiteout – zero visibility
White sale – sale of sheets, towels, and other linens
Whitewash – cover up, concealment
Meanings of Shades of White
- Cream or ivory: calmness, elegance, sense of history
Words for White
A shade of white is a neutral gray. Off-whites have a hint of a secondary color.
milk / milky
White and You
Are you wearing white right now?
You are so positive today! You are well balanced and optimistic.
Look in your closet. Is white a predominate color in your wardrobe?
You are very positive. You are optimistic and highly individual, perhaps a loner or lonely. You crave a simplified life.
Do you just dislike the color white?
You feel the need to make a clean break.
Do you drive a white car?
You are direct.
*Chromophobia, also known as chromatophobia or chrematophobia, is a persistent, irrational fear of, or aversion to, colors and is usually a conditioned response. Color phobis are often caused by a traumatic experience from the past, usually childhood. The color becomes associated with the trauma but the individual may not remember the event or realize the connection. It could also be culturally related with meanings attached to the color. Conditioning or brain chemistry may also be the cause. While actual clinical phobias to color are rare, colors can elicit hormonal responses and psychological reactions. Reactions include heart palpations, panic, sweating, breathlessness, nausea, shaking, dizziness, and dry mouth. Treatments include behavioral therapy, hypnotherapy, exposure therapy, and psychotherapy.
How much white do you have in your wardrobe?