Color Symbolism and Meaning of White

The meaning of white pervades our lives. It is the unblemished marker of purity. White is the clean cotton of freshly laundered sheets and spring cleaning. White is the symbol of truth, unadulterated by dishonesty. White can be blinding to those accustomed to the dark, and it can illuminate the literal and figurative ills of society. White is the ideal foil – the contrast against which all other colors look more vibrant.

Meaning Of White: Explained

White is clean, simple, and pure. It stands in stark opposition to black, and its meanings are unequivocal. As white light contains all the colors of the spectrum, it’s an inclusive, impartial color, favoring no single hue and refusing to take sides.

Physical Effects

White is illuminating, helping our minds to focus and aiding in organization. White is definite, bringing clarity and marking definite borders, but too much white can be uncomfortable, even blinding.

The #color white is clean, simple, and pure. It stands in stark opposition to black, and its meanings are unequivocal.

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Symbolism And Meaning Of White

White stands for purity, its simplicity untainted by any other hue. White stands for everything good and right, and we use it symbolically in opposition to black. White is the color of certainty, of illumination, and of insight, and we associate it with knowledge and learning. White is inviolable, the color that reveals the distasteful by comparison with its purity.

White stands for purity, its simplicity untainted by any other hue.

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Meaning of White Words
Meaning of White Defined

Positive Associations

We associate white with cleanliness and with virginity. White gloves reveal dirt, and white doctor’s coats evoke sterility. White is associated with morality and freedom, and we think of white as aiding focus and organization. White creates space in design, and its use highlights the effects of surrounding colors. Bright color in contrast with white is a powerful combination.

White creates space in design, and its use highlights the effects of surrounding colors.

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Negative Associations

White can feel distant, impersonal, and cold. Though we associate it with morality, it can make us uncomfortable, as if a space or project is too perfect, or too artificial.White can make other colors seem too vibrant, and stark contrast can be overwhelming.

White Birthstone Colors

White Color Morsels

The white rhinoceros is the second largest land mammal, following the elephant. White rhinos can run surprisingly fast–up to 30-40 miles per hour, and the pregnancies of females lasts a staggering 15-16 months!

White gold is actually made of yellow gold mixed with another metal (like palladium or nickel.) This alloy is stronger than pure gold, and it’s typically coated with a rhodium plating to preserve the bright silver finish.

The Beatles’s eponymous ninth album, also known as their “White Album” sold nearly 2 million copies in America alone during the first week of its release and marked a new era of protest music.

"White papers" are authoritative pieces, intended to provide a thorough, definitive look at a topic. White papers can be used as a sales tool or an attempt at persuasion.

White blood cells, also known as leukocytes, live for only a matter of days. A single drop of blood contains roughly 7,000-25,000 white blood cells, and red blood cells outnumber white ones by 600 to 1.

The White House in Washington DC has six floors, 132 rooms, and 32 bathrooms. Its construction began in 1792, and it opened in 1800. The British burned much of the original White House in 1814, and another fire happened in 1929 during the Hoover administration.

Eskimos use 17 words for the color white to describe different snow conditions, whereas people in the Northwest United States use only 4 or 5.

White has been an auspicious color in Japan for much of its history. White represents purity and cleanliness in traditional Japanese society, and is seen as a blessed color.

White Words, Phrases And Idioms

Examples of how the meaning of white colors our language:

  • White Christmas: the appearance of snow on Christmas day
  • White elephant: a possession that no longer holds value for its owner
  • White flag: the signal of a peaceful surrender
  • White feather: a symbol of cowardliness
  • White goods: a description of household items, such as linens, towels, and appliances
  • White hot: extreme manner of intensity
  • White lie: a harmless untruth usually told out of politeness
  • White sauce: a sauce made from stock, butter, flour and seasonings

Quotes About Color White

Never use pure white; it doesn’t exist in nature.

Aldro T. Hibbard, American painter, 1886-1972

If time were a color, I bet it would be a tasteful off-white. - Greg Parrish  #color #quotes

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Renoir said once that nothing was so difficult, and at the same time so exciting, to paint, as white on white.

Ambroise Vollard, French Contemporary artist, 1866-1939

Put variety in white.

Charles Webster Hawthorne, American painter, 1872-1930

Working in white makes people look into it. White is ethereal. There’s a purity to it, it makes things look elevated in a way. There’s a whole palette of white…

Jonathan Milne, creates carefully crafted sculptures in white or colored paper.

“White covers a multitude of sins.” - Jonathan Milne  #color #quotes

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White must be the lightest color in a picture.

Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein, Austrian philosopher, 1889-1951

White does not exist in nature.

Pierre-Auguste Renoir, French Impressionist painter, 1841-1919

Such a magnificent sky, and it’s nothing but white paper!

 Pierre-Auguste Renoir, French Impressionist painter, 1841-1919

White … is not a mere absence of color; it is a shining and affirmative thing, as fierce as red, as definite as black…. God paints in many colors; but He never paints so gorgeously, I had almost said so gaudily, as when He paints in white.

Gilbert Keith, Chesterton British author, 1874–1936

When you glaze on a bright white ground it is like looking through color rather than at it – like looking through stained glass.

Fred Machetanz, American painter, 1908-2002

To any white body receiving the light from the sun, or the air, the shadows will be of a bluish cast.


Leonardo da Vinci
, an Italian polymath and painter, 1452-1519

White is the most wonderful color because within it you can see all the colors of the rainbow. For me, in fact, it is the color which in natural light, reflects and intensifies the perception of all of the shades of the rainbow, the colors which are constantly changing in nature, for the whiteness of white is never just white; it is almost always transformed by light and that which is changing; the sky, the clouds, the sun and the moon."

Richard Meier, American architect, whose designs make prominent use of the color white, b. 1934

More Intriguing Facts About White

The Truth About White Lies

White As A Signature Color

A signature color is different than a favorite color although for some people they many be one and the same. It is all in how you express yourself with a color and how consistently you wear it or surround yourself with the color that makes it your signature shade.

  • Tom Wolfe -- the author and journalist began wearing his trademark white suits in 1962.
  • Karim Rashid - Industrial Designer known for dressing in white most often with pink shoes although he says that he dresses in pink, too, about half the time.
  • Mark Twain - It wasn't until 1906, that Mark Twain started wearing the full suit - from head to toe made out of white linen - that became his look. But it seemed so perfect a costume for him that most readers today invariably picture him in white.
  • Colonel Sanders  - sported a look similar to Mark Twain after the Kentucky Governor Ruby Laffoon issued a ceremonial decree that commissioned Sanders as an honorary colonel. Sanders embraced the title and tried to look the part by growing facial hair and donning a black frock coat and string tie. Soon after, the colonel switched to a white suit, which helped to hide flour stains, and bleached his mustache and goatee to match his white hair.

Companies & Brands Identified by White

  • Apple
  • The Laundry Company
Business Color Identify

Cities With Color Names: White

  • Alabaster, Alabama
  • White Bear Lake, Minnesota
  • White Bird, Idaho
  • White Bluff, Tennessee
  • White City, Kansas
  • White House, Tennessee
  • White Lake, South Dakota
  • White Mountain, Alaska
  • Whitewater, Wisconsin
  • Whitewood, South Dakota
  • Whiting, Indiana
Cities with Color Name

Songs With White in the Title

  • Nights in White Satin - the Moody Blues
  • White Men in Black Suits - Everclear
  • White on White - Danny Williams
  • White Queen (As It Began) - Queen
  • White Rabbit by Jefferson Airplane - Surrealistic Pillow
  • White Riot - The Clash
  • White Flag - Dido
  • White Room - Alisha’s Attic
  • Dirty White Boy - Foreigner
  • White Room - Cream
  • White Wedding - Billy Idol
  • Whiter Shade of Pale - Procol Harum
  • White Shadows - Coldplay

Color and Our Sense of Smell: White

It’s not just emotion that makes scent powerful. It’s closely tied to your memories, as well. Smell also plays a major role in our ability to taste. When combined with with color those connections become even stronger.

  • The rich, sweet scent of French Vanilla is a strong and creamy fragrance that is calming, consoling, soothing, purifying, and centering.
  • The strong floral scent of the Gardenia blossom has a mood-lifting and sensual appeal.
  • The white colored Magic Scents Crayons labeled "Coconut" from Binney & Smith Inc. was originally scented to smell like fresh coconut. However, after numerous reports that children were "eating" the food-scented crayons the company changed to less tasty options. The scent for the color white became “Baby Powder.”

White And The Sense Of Taste

It’s not just emotion that makes scent powerful. It’s closely tied to your memories, as well. Smell also plays a major role in our ability to taste. When combined with with color those connections become even stronger.

  • Sauvignon Blanc, a popular white wine, has lots of flavors derived from natural chemicals. When people drink it, they may taste banana, passion fruit, bell pepper, and even a flinty, mineral taste. But if a flavorless food coloring is added to the Sauvignon Blanc to turn it a deep red, people’s taste perceptions change. They taste flavors associated with merlots or cabernets, wines known for their deep red colors.
  • Some believe that white foods trick us into mindless overeating because white’s associated with being empty and harmless.
  • As for tableware, white round plates have been shown to enhance diners perception of sweetness, intensity, as well as increased ratings of quality and liking.

The Color White in the Garden

  • White neutralizes loud color combinations. It separates colors and stops them from blending into one another. White shows up well at night, creates a sense of depth in the garden, and will brighten any planting, making other colors look richer. - New York Botanical Garden

Discover More About the Meaning of Color

Color Symbolism and Meaning of Red
Color Symbolism and Meaning of Black
Color Symbolism and Meaning of Gray
Color Symbolism and Meaning of Pink
Color Symbolism and Meaning of Green
Color Symbolism and Meaning of Brown
Color Symbolism and Meaning of Orange
Color Symbolism and Meaning of Purple
Color Symbolism and Meaning of Yellow
Color Symbolism and Meaning of Blue

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