Definition of green in English:

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Pronunciation: /ɡriːn/


1Of the colour between blue and yellow in the spectrum; coloured like grass or emeralds: her flashing green eyes the leaves are bright green
More example sentences
  • Just looking at that terrible green and blue colour scheme is enough to make me shudder.
  • I painted my fingernails bright green and put on black lipstick.
  • Among vegetables, those most closely related to lowering the risk of heart disease were green, leafy vegetables.
greenish, viridescent;
olive green, pea green, emerald green, lime green, bottle green, Lincoln green, sea green, sage green, acid green, eau de Nil, aquamarine, aqua
literary virescent, glaucous
1.1Consisting of fresh green vegetables: a green salad
More example sentences
  • More fennel appeared in the green side salad we ordered which got a thumbs up once again.
  • Copious plates of pasta, fresh green salad and ripe peaches would follow.
  • Serve with a bowl of grated hard cheese to sprinkle on top as well as a green salad, fresh bread, and the Merlot.
1.2Denoting a green light or flag used as a signal to proceed.
Example sentences
  • The big final was a typically full-blooded affair, with a complete restart being called as the cars piled into each other before the green flag fell.
  • You certainly need a car that you can race well, and I am confident that when the green flag drops, we are going to have that.
  • But when the green flag drops, they also compete against each other as hard as anybody else.
1.3(Of a ski run) of the lowest level of difficulty, as indicated by green markers on the run.
Example sentences
  • The runs were graded like ski runs from green, the easiest, to black, the most difficult.
  • By the last day, me and my fellow beginners were coasting (fairly) effortlessly down green and blue runs, starting to experiment with parallel turns and having a fantastic time.
1.4 Physics Denoting one of three colours of quark.
Example sentences
  • The figure on the left shows a red quark and a green quark interacting by exchanging a gluon that carries the appropriate colours.
  • Quarks come in different varieties, and physicists whimsically give these the names of colors - red, green, and blue. This doesn't mean that quarks really are red, green, or blue.
2Covered with grass or other vegetation: proposals that would smother green fields with development
More example sentences
  • He said its scent on her skin reminded him of wide-open, green fields covered with sweet flowers.
  • So there is going to be a need for some development on green fields on the edge of the town.
  • The cloud cover had burned off, and the fields were green with fresh grass and dotted with live oaks.
verdant, grassy, grass-covered, leafy, verdurous;
rural, pastoral
2.1 (usually Green) Concerned with or supporting protection of the environment as a political principle: official Green candidates
More example sentences
  • Of course, this can best be achieved by electing Green politicians to parliament.
  • Without those Green votes, the Government could not have passed that legislation.
  • At the last European elections British Green MEPs were elected for the first time.
environmentalist, ecologist, conservationist, preservationist
2.2(Of a product or service) not harmful to the environment: traditional, modern, and green funerals
More example sentences
  • Girls were more aware of green issues than boys, and were more likely to join an environmental group or buy green products.
  • The architect says green products must work in conjunction with thoughtful design.
  • For some it's a hard pill to swallow - Texas as the national leader in renewable, green energy.
environmentally friendly, environmentally/ecologically sound, non-polluting, ozone-friendly, energy-efficient, energy-saving, fuel-efficient, fuel-saving, low-carbon
3(Of a plant or fruit) young or unripe: green shoots
More example sentences
  • When choosing your papaya, make sure it is an unripe green fruit with just a touch of yellow in the skin.
  • Ripening of tomato fruit involves the differentiation of chloroplasts in young green fruit into chromoplasts in mature ripe red fruit.
  • Others prefer to eat them when they are still green or half ripe, when the acid taste predominates.
unripe, not ripe, immature
3.1(Of wood, food, or leather) in its original or untreated state; not seasoned, tanned, cured, or dried.
Example sentences
  • If you try to burn green wood, the heat produced by combustion must dry the wood before it will burn, using up a large percentage of the available energy in the process.
  • Avoid burning green (unseasoned) wood which may contain up to 50% of its weight in moisture.
  • While people in the south of England favoured Wiltshire bacon smoked over oak or pine sawdust, people in the north liked ‘green bacon’ (unsmoked and often cured separately from the legs).
unseasoned, not aged, unfinished;
pliable, supple
raw, fresh, unsmoked, uncured
3.2Still strong or vigorous: clubs devoted to keeping green the memory of Sherlock Holmes
More example sentences
  • The movement of the war from memory into history is still far from complete. Many participants still survive, and help to keep the memory green.
  • Former pupils and classmates swapped stories about their schooldays, which may or may not have been the happiest days of their lives, but which were still green in their memories and viewed with affection.
  • The scenes on board INS Vikarant, shortly after the surrender ceremony, are still green in his memory.
vigorous, strong, sturdy, sound, healthy, flourishing
3.3 archaic (Of a wound) fresh; not healed.
Example sentences
  • I didn't like it one bit, seemed terribly like turning a knife in a very green wound.
4(Of a person) inexperienced or naive: a green recruit fresh from college
More example sentences
  • Everything was an influence, because I was green, open, always ready to explore, and naive.
  • It didn't send its green reporters to war, nor did it leave its stale reporters at home.
  • She was very green and it took a long time for the penny to drop.
inexperienced, unversed, callow, immature;
new, raw, unseasoned, untried;
inexpert, untrained, unqualified, ignorant;
simple, unsophisticated, unpolished;
naive, innocent, ingenuous, credulous, gullible, unworldly
informal wet behind the ears, born yesterday
5(Of a person or their complexion) pale and sickly-looking: ‘Are you all right?—You look absolutely green’
More example sentences
  • He really did look it too, his face was pale and almost green, and his body jerked as if he were about to throw up.
  • Murray hesitated, his complexion turning slightly green at the idea of a wide-awake, close-up view of the corpse.
  • A girl in the back bolted up, looking mildly green around the edges.
pale, wan, pallid, ashen, ashen-faced, pasty, pasty-faced, grey, whitish, washed out, whey-faced, waxen, waxy, blanched, drained, pinched, sallow;
sickly, nauseous, ill, sick, unhealthy


1 [mass noun] Green colour or pigment: major roads are marked in green
More example sentences
  • Route 2 buses branded in green will operate on a loop connecting Victoria, Oxford Road and Deansgate rail stations.
  • The colour green is supposed to be the most relaxing on the eye and nerves.
  • This year, though, expect to see red mixed with colours other than traditional green.
1.1Green clothes or material: two girls in red and green
More example sentences
  • But Johnson's latest performance in the red and green of Leicester showed that he still has a ravenous appetite for club rugby.
  • There's also a nice and deserved tribute page to the late Richie Bell who donned the red and green of Mayo on many occasions.
  • His coffin was draped in the red and green of Mayo and the local club formed a guard of honour.
1.2Green foliage or vegetation: that lovely canopy of green over Stratford Road
More example sentences
  • The canopy of green around the hotel and the lake provides an interesting contrast with the rugged beauty of the sand and scrub beyond.
  • From here, the village looked quiet, a group of shacks surrounded by the green of the forest.
foliage, greenery, plants, leaves, leafage, vegetation
rare herbage, verdure, frondescence
1.3 informal, dated Low-grade cannabis: he got hold of some bad green
More example sentences
  • Finally he got hold of some bad green, as it's called in the trade, and smoked too much of it.
2A green thing, in particular:
2.1 (greens) Green vegetables: eat up your greens
More example sentences
  • First, there's salad of mixed greens, tomatoes, cabbage, carrot and cauliflower in a creamy but pungent dressing.
  • Apparently one in five of our supposedly health obsessed, eco friendly and vegetarian teenagers eat no greens at all.
  • Most of the herbs and salad greens are grown in the hotel garden, and there is always at least one vegetarian option available.
vegetables, leaf vegetables
informal veg, veggies
2.2A green light.
Example sentences
  • He came to a halt at the first set of traffic lights at the red light and he passed the second one on the green.
  • The car in front of me stalled and I missed the green.
2.3The green ball in snooker.
Example sentences
  • But a brilliant green by Williams gives him the chance to finish the frame and move two clear for the first time.
  • A cagey opening frame went to O'Sullivan after his opponent missed a straightforward green.
  • Milner potted green to level the frame scores but left a sitting brown after attempting an ambitious pot along the baulk cushion.
2.4 informal, dated Money: that’s a lot of green
More example sentences
  • At five shillings a dose that's a lot of green.
  • And plenty of green will be needed to respond to an anticipated $200 million-plus Republican assault on the presumptive nominee.
  • Home life is also happier for those who have some green in their pockets.
3A piece of public grassy land, especially in the centre of a village: a house overlooking the green
More example sentences
  • I am told the garden of my house used to be part of the village green.
  • High Ellington is a pleasant little village with a green.
  • The arts and crafts exhibition was held in the village hall, while refreshments were served in a marquee on the village green.
lawn, common, grassy area, sward, grass
archaic greensward, mead, lea
3.1An area of smooth, very short grass immediately surrounding a hole on a golf course: a 60 ft putt on the last green
More example sentences
  • The manicured greens and fairways of golf courses are not usually considered ideal places for conservation management.
  • On the giant scoreboard behind the green, he could see what he had long dreamt about - his own name on top, co-leader.
  • Just beyond the third green a new championship tee has been constructed on the fourth hole with the lake on the left now visible off the tee.
4 (usually Green) A member or supporter of an environmentalist group or party: the Greens' remarkable 15 per cent vote
More example sentences
  • Leading members of Respect have made repeated attempts to agree an electoral pact with the Greens.
  • If this was the case, we'd end up with the amusing sight of a parliament full of Lib Dems and Greens.
  • When the no confidence vote was passed, she resigned and eight Lib Dem councillors and one Green followed suit.
environmentalist, conservationist, preservationist, nature-lover, eco-activist
informal, derogatory eco-nut, ecofreak, tree hugger


1Make or become green in colour: [no object]: the roof was greening with lichen
More example sentences
  • No doubt the rain has been a great blessing and previously brown lawns are greening up.
  • Out on the fields there are long lines of willows greening up, ready to give new bud and make a year's growth ready for coppicing in the Autumn.
  • The field has now been re-seeded and is greening over nicely in the recent warm spell.
2 [with object] Make (an urban or desert area) more verdant by planting trees or other vegetation: they will continue greening the many treeless and dusty suburbs
More example sentences
  • Orchids, flowering plants and fruit-bearing trees have been combined to green the area.
  • Joubert Park is managed by the Johannesburg Parks Agency, who, together with other bodies, are busy cleaning up the park, and greening the area.
  • by now the seeds and grass and plants should have been taking root, greening the area.
3 [with object] Make less harmful to the environment: tips on how to green your home
More example sentences
  • The Greens have unveiled a radical programme for greening London's transport system.
  • Its an excellent starting point for students interested in greening their campuses.
  • In October, the council released a new set of standards for greening up existing buildings.



green on blue

Military Denoting or relating to an attack made on one’s own side by forces regarded as neutral: green-on-blue episodes
From the use of green to indicate neutral forces and blue to indicate friendly forces in military exercises

green shoots (of recovery)

Signs of growth or renewal, especially of economic recovery.
Example sentences
  • In terms of the U. S., I think we see or are seeing, to use maybe an overused phrase, green shoots.
  • Despite a rough couple of weeks for Republicans, GOP strategists see their own political green shoots of recovery on the economy.
  • My approach is to focus on the more knowable things about a putative investment rather than speculate over green shoots.

green with envy

Very envious or jealous.
Example sentences
  • While the apartment was stunning and the attention to detail in the fittings and finishings faultless, it all paled in comparison to the view which was enough to make even your most critical guest green with envy.
  • But, following Friday's Champions League draw, they will be green with envy as they consider their potential lot in the competition compared to Liverpool.
  • Like all Scottish pensioners my mum and dad are delighted to be able to travel on public transport for free, and students down south are green with envy at the abolition of tuition fees.



Pronunciation: /ˈɡriːnli/
Example sentences
  • With my two fellow passengers greenly studying their feet he was telling me what to expect of the boomerang-shaped island he calls home: ‘Rathlin's a place you'll either love or hate.’
  • He was looking at the brother and sister with a queer expression on his face, something akin to suspicion and mistrust growing greenly in his eyes.
  • Despite running greenly in that race and in the Matron on September 15, Storm Flag Flying has scored both wins with ease.


Pronunciation: /ˈɡriːnnəs/
Example sentences
  • Venture inland and there are the foothills of the Pyrenees and the greenness of the fields always surprises UK visitors to northern Spain, who expect to see the arid conditions which predominate further south.
  • As the plane headed to Christchurch she thought how beautiful everything looked, in particular the greenness of the countryside and the gardens in the city.
  • When we did the trip last, in late spring, the sun on the willow trees heightened our awareness of the greenness after driving down through barren hills.


Old English grēne (adjective), grēnian (verb), of Germanic origin; related to Dutch groen, German grün, also to grass and grow.

  • The defining characteristic of green is that it is the colour of living plants and the word shares an earlier ancestor with grass. The colour has also long been associated with a sickly complexion, and phrases such as green and wan and green and pale were once common. To be green around the gills is to look or feel ill or nauseous—a person's gills are the fleshy parts between the jaw and the ears, by analogy with the gills of a fish. An inexperienced person has been called green since the Middle Ages, in reference to the colour of unripe corn, and naïve or gullible people have been green since the beginning of the 17th century ( see also salad). Traditionally green has also been the colour of jealousy and envy. In Othello Shakespeare gave us a memorable term for jealousy, the green-eyed monster: ‘O! Beware my lord of jealousy / It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock / The meat it feeds on.’ A person with green fingers (or, in the USA, a green thumb) is good at growing plants. The phrase originated as the title of a 1934 book of garden verse by the British comic writer Reginald Arkell. The association of the colour with the environmentalist lobby dates from the early 1970s in West Germany. British Conservative MP Norman Lamont is widely credited with introducing the phrase the green shoots of recovery, in relation to the performance of the economy after a recession, but what he said at the Tory Party conference of 1991 was ‘The green shoots of economic spring are appearing once again’. See also yellow

Words that rhyme with green

Aberdeen, Amin, aquamarine, baleen, bean, been, beguine, Benin, between, canteen, careen, Claudine, clean, contravene, convene, cuisine, dean, Dene, e'en, eighteen, fascine, fedayeen, fifteen, figurine, foreseen, fourteen, Francine, gean, gene, glean, gombeen, Greene, Halloween, intervene, Janine, Jean, Jeannine, Jolene, Kean, keen, Keene, Ladin, langoustine, latrine, lean, limousine, machine, Maclean, magazine, Malines, margarine, marine, Mascarene, Massine, Maxine, mean, Medellín, mesne, mien, Moline, moreen, mujahedin, Nadine, nankeen, Nazarene, Nene, nineteen, nougatine, obscene, palanquin, peen, poteen, preen, quean, Rabin, Racine, ramin, ravine, routine, Sabine, saltine, sardine, sarin, sateen, scene, screen, seen, serene, seventeen, shagreen, shebeen, sheen, sixteen, spleen, spring-clean, squireen, Steen, submarine, supervene, tambourine, tangerine, teen, terrine, thirteen, transmarine, treen, tureen, Tyrrhene, ultramarine, umpteen, velveteen, wean, ween, Wheen, yean

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: green

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