lack, evil, darkness, bad luck, crime, mystery, silence, concealment, elegance, execution, end, chaos, death, and secrecy
Black is the
colorof objects that do not emit or reflect lightin any part of the visible spectrum; they absorb all such frequencies of light. Although black is sometimes described as an "achromatic", or hueless, color, in practice it can be considered a color, as in expressions like "black cat" or "black paint".
Color or light in science
Black can be defined as the visual impression experienced when no
visible lightreaches the eye. (This makes a contrast with whiteness, the impression of any combination of colors of lightthat equally stimulates all three types of color-sensitive visual receptors.)
Pigments that absorb light rather than reflect it back to the eye "look black". A black pigment can, however, result from a "combination" of several pigments that collectively absorb all colors. If appropriate proportions of three primary pigments are mixed, the result reflects so little light as to be called "black".
This provides two superficially opposite but actually complementary descriptions of black. Black is the lack of all colors of light, or an exhaustive combination of multiple colors of pigment. See also
physics, a black bodyis a perfect absorber of light, but by a rule derived by Einstein it is also, when heated, the best emitter. Thus, the best radiative cooling, out of sunlight, is by using black paint, though it is important that it be black (a nearly perfect absorber) in the infraredas well.
In elementary science, far Ultraviolet light is called "black light" because, unseen (per se), it causes many minerals and other substances to fluoresce.
On January 16, 2008, researchers from
Troy, New York’s Rensselaer Polytechnic Instituteannounced the creation of the darkest material on the planet. The material, which reflects only .045 percent of light, was created from carbon nanotubes stood on end. It absorbs nearly 30 times more light than the current standard for blacknessfact|date=May 2008, and is 3 times darker than the current record holder for darkest substance. Scientists claim that the new material has great potential in the manufacturing of solar panels. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7190107.stm Darkest ever material created:] ]
Absorption of light
In keeping with the law of
conservation of energy, as a black color surface absorbs the lightparticles that hit it, the surface's particles are getting excited (excited particles = higher temperature). The color black attracts heat and absorbs it making the object that is black warmer, because the particles have warmed up and are moving faster.
Usage, symbolism, colloquial expressions
Authority and seriousness
Black can be seen as the color of authority and seriousness.
Black Watchis the senior Highland Regiment of the British Army.
Japanese culture, "kuro" (black) is a symbol of nobility, age, and experience, as opposed to "shiro" (white), which symbolizes serfdom, youth, and naiveté. Thus the black belt is a mark of achievement and seniority in many martial arts, whereas in, for example, Shotokan karate, a white belt is a rank-less belt which comes before all other belts. These ranks are called "dan".
*In the long-running
Japanese " tokusatsu" TV series " Super Sentai" (and its American counterpart, " Power Rangers"), black is one of the colors worn by the eponymous heroes.
*Black was the color of the
Arabdynasty of Abbasid caliphs, which is the reason black is frequently used in flags of Arab countries.
riot controlunits of the Basque Autonomous Policein Spainare known as " beltzak" ("blacks") after their uniform.
policevehicles (" panda cars") were in black and white.
Academic dressincludes black robes for graduates.
tuxedosare worn at formal occasions known as black tiefunctions.
*Black is worn by religious figures within
Christianity, e.g. priests (especially of the older religious denominations), monks and nuns.
*Black is worn by Hassidic Jews.
*Black is worn by some Muslim women; see
List of types of sartorial hijabfor photographs of examples such as the " abaya".
Lawyers and judges often wear black robes.
*Many performers of
European classical musicor other serious art music dress in black for a concertor recital.
*Members of the modern goth and some punk subcultures dress predominantly in black (see also
*The term "black" is often used in the West to denote the ethnicity of people whose
skin colorranges from light to darker shades of brown. For a discussion of usage, see the main entry at Black peopleand color terminology for race.
*In arguments, things can be
black-and-white, meaning that the issue at hand is dichotomized (having two clear, opposing sides with no middle ground).
ancient China, black was the symbol of "North" and "Water", one of the main five colors.
List of black flags, although not exclusively political, gives many political meanings.
*Black is used for
anarchist symbolism, sometimes split in diagonal with other colors to show alignment with another political philosophy. The plain black flagis explained in various ways, sometimes as an anti-flag or a non-flag. Wearing black clothing is also sometimes an anarchist tactic during demonstrations, with a practical benefit of not attracting attention and making later identification of a subject difficult. This strategy is referred to as a black bloc.
*In Portuguese politics, black (and red) is the party color of the
blackshirtswere Italian Fascist militias.
*The black triangle was used by the
Nazis to designate "asocial" people (homeless and Roma, for example); later the symbol was adopted by lesbian culture.
Amy Winehouse's Grammy Award winning song and album Back to Black
Black Hole Sun" is an award-winning (1995 Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance) song by the Seattle band Soundgardenfrom their albums " Superunknown" (1994) and " A-Sides" (1997).
Black metalis a style of music including bands such as Darkthroneand Mayhem.
Johnny Cashwas commonly referred to as "The Man in Black" due to his preference for black clothing. His song " Man in Black" presents it as a show of solidarity with the outcasts of society.
folk song" Black Is the Color (of My True Love's Hair)".
AC/DCsang "Back in Black", a song about being successful and ambitious once again.
*In a book by the Berenstains, titled "Call Me Mrs.," the wife tells the husband in the garden, "You not only fixed those lousy
aphids, you developed that long-sought-after variety--the pure black rose!"
Musereleased an album entitled Black Holes & Revelations, one of the songs on it was called Supermassive Black Hole.
Black skyrefers to the appearance of space as one emerges from the Earth's atmosphere.
*The term "
black hole" is applied to collapsed stars. This term is metaphorical however, because few properties of black objects or black voids apply to black holes.
rugby unionteam of New Zealandis called the " All Blacks", in reference to their black outfits, and the color is also shared by other New Zealand national teams such as the Black Caps(cricket) and the Kiwis(rugby league).
*Association football (soccer) referees traditionally wear all-black uniforms, however nowadays other uniform colors may also be worn.
*A large number of teams have uniforms designed with black colors - many feeling the color sometimes imparts a psychological advantage in its wearers. Among the more famous (or infamous) include
Oakland Raidersand Pittsburgh Steelersof the NFL, the San Antonio Spursand Miami Heatof the NBA, and Inter Milan of the Serie Aof the Italian soccer leagues.
auto racing, a black flag signals a driver to go into the pits.
baseball, "the black" refers to a blacked out baseballarea around the center-field bleachers, painted black to give hitters a decent background for pitched balls.
Ambiguity and secrecy
black box" is any device whose internal workings are unknown or inexplicable. In theatre, the black boxis a smaller, undecorated theater whose auditorium and stage relationship can be configured in various way.
*A "black project" is a secretive project, like Enigma Decryption, other classified military programs or operations,
Narcotics, or police sting operations.
*Some organizations are called "black" when they keep a low profile, like Sociétés Anonymes and
*A polished black mirror is used for
scrying, and is thought to help see into the paranormalworld without interference or distraction.
*Black frequently symbolizes
ambiguity, secrecy, and the unknown.
Beliefs, religions and superstitions
*Black is a symbol of
mourningand bereavement in Western societies, especially at funerals and memorial services. In some traditional societies, within for example Greeceand Italy, widows wear black for the rest of their lives. In contrast, across much of Africa and parts of Asia, white is a color of mourning and is worn during funerals.
heraldry, black means darkness, doubt, ignorance, and uncertainty. [(The American Girls Handy Book, p. 370) ]
Maasaitribes of Kenyaand Tanzania, the color black is associated with rain clouds, a symbol of life and prosperity.
*Native Americans associated black with the life-giving soil.
Hindudeity Krishnameans "the black one".
Christian sectknown as the Cathars viewed black as a color of perfection.
Rastafari movementsees black as beautiful.
Black Friday (shopping)occurs the day after Thanksgivingand is, statistically, the largest shopping day in the US. The idea is that the shopping that begins on this day can put a company into the black (i.e., make a profit) for the year.
*To say one's accounts are "in the black" is used to mean that one is free of debt.
**Being "in the red" is to be in debt—in traditional bookkeeping, negative amounts, such as costs, were printed in red ink, and positive amounts, like
revenues, were printed in black ink, so that if the " bottom line" is printed in black, the firm is profiting.
fashion, black is considered stylish, sexy, elegant and powerful.
*The colloquialism "X is
the new black" is a reference to the latest trend or fad that is considered a wardrobe basic for the duration of the trend, on the basis that black is always fashionable. The phrase has taken on a life of its own as a snowclone, and has been stretched and parodied as a rhetorical device and a cliche.
ymbolic dualism with white
Black magicis a destructive or evil form of magic, often connected with death, as opposed to white magic. This was already apparent during Ancient Egypt when the Cush Tribe invaded Egyptian plantations along the Nile River.
witchesare stereotypically dressed in black and good fairiesin white.
computer security, a blackhatis an attacker with evil intentions, while a whitehatbears no such ill will. (This is derived from the Western movie convention.)
*In many Hollywood Westerns, bad cowboys wear
black hats while the good ones wear white.
Melodramavillains are dressed in black and heroines in white dresses.
*A "black day" (or week or month) usually refers to a sad or tragic time. The Romans marked "
fasti" days with white stones and "nefasti" days with black.
Wall Street Crash 1929, the stock market crashon October 29, 1929which is the start of the Great Depression, is nicknamed Black Tuesday, and was preceded by Black Thursday, a downturn on October 24the previous week.
Black Monday, stock market crashon October 19, 1987.
Black Wednesdaycaused Britain to pull out of the European Exchange Rate Mechanism.
Black Friday, various tragic events. (Exception: See Black Friday (shopping).)
*Black months include:
Black September in Jordan, in which thousands were killed.
Black Julykilling of the Tamil population by the Sinhalese government in Sri Lanka.
Black Spring2001 ("Printemps noir"), in the Berber region of Kabylia( Algeria), when the police shot and killed more than 100 people.
Black Death, also known as the Black Plague, was a pandemic in Europe which killed tens of millions of people.
Black Hole of Calcuttawas the overcrowding of an impromptu prison cell in which many died.
*A black-hearted person is mean and unloving.
blacklistis a list of undesirable persons or entities (to be placed on the list is to be "blacklisted").
Black comedyis a form of comedydealing with morbid and serious topics.
black markagainst you is a bad thing.
*A black mood is a bad one (cf
Winston Churchill's clinical depression, which he called "my black dog"). [cite web|url=http://www.christianethicstoday.com/Issue/016/Dancing%20with%20the%20Black%20Dog%20By%20Hal%20Haralson_016_7_.htm|title=Dancing with the Black Dog|author=Hal Haralson|work=christianethicstoday.com|accessdate=2006-11-10]
black marketis used to denote the trade of illegal goods, or alternatively the illegal trade of otherwise legal items at considerably higher prices, e.g. to evade rationing.
Black propagandais the use of known falsehoods, partial truths, or masquerades in propaganda to confuse an opponent.
Blackmailis the act of threatening to reveal information about a person unless the threatened party fulfills certain demands. This information is usually of an embarrassing or socially damaging nature. Ordinarily, such a threat is illegal.
*If you sink the black eight-ball in
billiardsbefore all others are out of play, you lose.
*The black sheep of the family is the ne'er-do-well.
*To blackball someone is to block their entry into a
clubor some such institution. In the traditional English gentlemen's club, current members vote on the admission of a candidate by secretly placing a white or black ball in a hat. If upon the completion of voting, there was even one black ball amongst the white, the candidate would be denied membership, and he would never know who had "blackballed" him.
Black pigments include
carbon black, ivory black, ebony, onyxand charcoalblack.
List of colors
* [http://www.sensationalcolor.com/content/view/1054/144/ All About Black]
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