adjective, green·er, green·est.

  1. of the color of growing foliage, between yellow and blue in the spectrum: green leaves.
  2. covered with herbage or foliage; verdant: green fields.
  3. characterized by the presence of verdure.
  4. made of green vegetables, as lettuce, spinach, endive, or chicory: a green salad.
  5. not fully developed or perfected in growth or condition; unripe; not properly aged: This peach is still green.
  6. unseasoned; not dried or cured: green lumber.
  7. immature in age or judgment; untrained; inexperienced: a green worker.
  8. simple; unsophisticated; gullible; easily fooled.
  9. fresh, recent, or new: an insult still green in his mind.
  10. having a sickly appearance; pale; wan: green with fear; green with envy.
  11. full of life and vigor; young: a man ripe in years but green in heart.
  12. environmentally sound or beneficial: green computers.
  13. (of wine) having a flavor that is raw, harsh, and acid, due especially to a lack of maturity.
  14. freshly slaughtered or still raw: green meat.
  15. not fired, as bricks or pottery.
  16. (of cement or mortar) freshly set and not completely hardened.
  17. Foundry.
    1. (of sand) sufficiently moist to form a compact lining for a mold without further treatment.
    2. (of a casting) as it comes from the mold.
    3. (of a powder, in powder metallurgy) unsintered.


  1. a color intermediate in the spectrum between yellow and blue, an effect of light with a wavelength between 500 and 570 nm; found in nature as the color of most grasses and leaves while growing, of some fruits while ripening, and of the sea.
  2. Art. a secondary color that has been formed by the mixture of blue and yellow pigments.
  3. green coloring matter, as paint or dye.
  4. green material or clothing: to be dressed in green.
  5. greens,
    1. fresh leaves or branches of trees, shrubs, etc., used for decoration; wreaths.
    2. the leaves and stems of plants, as spinach, lettuce, or cabbage, used for food.
    3. a blue-green uniform of the U.S. Army.
  6. grassy land; a plot of grassy ground.
  7. a piece of grassy ground constituting a town or village common.
  8. Also called putting green. Golf. the area of closely cropped grass surrounding each hole.
  9. bowling green.
  10. a shooting range for archery.
  11. Informal. green light(def 1).
  12. Slang. money; greenbacks (usually preceded by the): I’d like to buy a new car but I don’t have the green.
  13. (initial capital letter) a member of the Green party (in Germany).

verb (used with or without object)

  1. to become or make green.
  2. Informal. to restore the vitality of: Younger executives are greening corporate managements.
  1. read the green, to inspect a golf green, analyzing its slope and surface, so as to determine the difficulties to be encountered when putting.


  1. any of a group of colours, such as that of fresh grass, that lie between yellow and blue in the visible spectrum in the wavelength range 575–500 nanometres. Green is the complementary colour of magenta and with red and blue forms a set of primary coloursRelated adjective: verdant
  2. a dye or pigment of or producing these colours
  3. something of the colour green
  4. a small area of grassland, esp in the centre of a village
  5. an area of ground used for a purposea putting green
  6. (plural)
    1. the edible leaves and stems of certain plants, eaten as a vegetable
    2. freshly cut branches of ornamental trees, shrubs, etc, used as a decoration
  7. (sometimes capital) a person, esp a politician, who supports environmentalist issues (see sense 13)
  8. slang money
  9. slang marijuana of low quality
  10. (plural) slang sexual intercourse


  1. of the colour green
  2. greenish in colour or having parts or marks that are greenisha green monkey
  3. (sometimes capital) concerned with or relating to conservation of the world’s natural resources and improvement of the environmentgreen policies; the green consumer
  4. vigorous; not fadeda green old age
  5. envious or jealous
  6. immature, unsophisticated, or gullible
  7. characterized by foliage or green plantsa green wood; a green salad
  8. fresh, raw, or unripegreen bananas
  9. unhealthily pale in appearancehe was green after his boat trip
  10. denoting a unit of account that is adjusted in accordance with fluctuations between the currencies of the EU nations and is used to make payments to agricultural producers within the EUgreen pound
  11. (of pottery) not fired
  12. (of meat) not smoked or cured; unprocessedgreen bacon
  13. metallurgy (of a product, such as a sand mould or cermet) compacted but not yet fired; ready for firing
  14. (of timber) freshly felled; not dried or seasoned
  15. (of concrete) not having matured to design strength


  1. to make or become green


  1. Henry, real name Henry Vincent Yorke . 1905–73, British novelist: author of Living (1929), Loving (1945), and Back (1946)
  2. John Richard. 1837–83, British historian; author of A Short History of the English People (1874)
  3. T (homas) H (ill). 1836–82, British idealist philosopher. His chief work, Prolegomena to Ethics, was unfinished at his death
n., adj.

Old English grene “green, young, immature, raw,” earlier groeni, from West Germanic *gronja- (cf. Old Saxon grani, Old Frisian grene, Old Norse grænn, Danish grøn, Dutch groen, Old High German gruoni, German grün), from PIE root *ghre- “grow” (see grass), through sense of “color of living plants.”

Meaning “a field, grassy place” was in Old English. Sense of “of tender age, youthful” is from early 15c.; hence “gullible” (c.1600). The color of jealousy at least since Shakespeare (1596); “Greensleeves,” ballad of an inconstant lady-love, is from 1570s. Green light in figurative sense of “permission” is from 1937. Green and red as signals on railways first attested 1883, as nighttime substitutes for semaphore flags. Green beret originally “British commando” is from 1949. Green room “room for actors when not on stage” is from 1701; presumably a well-known one was painted green.


Old English grenian (see green (n.,adj.)). Related: Greened; greening.

In addition to the idioms beginning with green

  • green about the gills
  • green light, the
  • green thumb
  • green with envy

also see:

  • grass is always greener
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