What does the color black mean?

The color black is usually interpreted from dark, evil or unfortunate coordinates. We show you all the interpretations that have been given to this color.

Last update: December 10, 2021

Black is a color that people immediately associate with evil, darkness, or pain. Black is the result of the absence of photoreception of visible light. It is considered an achromatic color as is white. Let’s see what the meaning of the color black is and some curiosities and characteristics around it.

In Spanish the term black derives from latin Niger and east of proto-Indo-European nekw-t, which refers to the night. In Spanish it has been recorded since the 12th century, while in other languages ​​it has a similar connotation. It is created with the combination of magenta, yellow and cyan, with results similar to what would be expected from the standard shade.

Characteristics of the black color

Black is a color that, despite its negative connotation, is often widely used in different ways. One of them is fashion.

From a physical point of view, black is interpreted as the absorption of all colors. That is, when the visible light from these does not reach the eyes. The degree of absorption varies according to the properties. In 2019, MIT experts created the blackest material known, with a light absorption range of 99.995% from all angles.



It is a very common color in nature. We see it by looking at the night sky and in some animals and insects. The relationship that humans have had with color dates back to time immemorial, long before we were even aware of color.

Curiosities about the color black

  • A phenomenon known as Rayleigh scattering It produces the effect of blue sky during the day and dark at night.
  • The Universe is almost entirely black. This is a curious fact, at least if we consider the abundance of stars. This is known as Olbers paradox.
  • The term is used black box to allude to things that are unknown (the metaphorical meaning could not be more precise).
  • A black hole is a phenomenon of the Universe that is obtained when a star of a certain mass collapses. The result is an object whose gravity prevents even light from escaping from it (that’s why they can’t be seen).
  • The word black it is used to add an unfortunate tinge: black plague, black Monday (or any day of the week to reference financial losses), black humor, black market, black sheep and so on.
  • The black dress was invented by Coco Chanel in 1926. Although we cannot appreciate it, by then it represented a complete revolution.
  • Dark complexion is due to a higher concentration of melanin on your skin surface. It is an evolutionary effect whose purpose is to protect from ultraviolet rays.
  • Black is a color that in nature is interpreted as a sign of danger. Snakes, amphibians and insects use it to warn of their venom or toxicity.
  • It is one of the most used colors in the history of art.

We can list dozens and dozens of additional references that allow us to get closer to the meaning of the color black. However, these are enough to understand its importance. When we approach its interpretation from psychology, we discover that it is even greater.

Meaning of the color black from psychology

The constant comparison of black with negative aspects could have relevant psychological consequences, especially on racial issues.

According to studies, in the business context relates to black with rationality, arguments and truthful facts. Many entrepreneurs say that it is a color that mediates in conflict resolution and business communication. That is why it is used so much in these levels, be it in costumes, cars, accessories, decoration and more.



The evidence indicates that the little ones associate the color black with bad things early on and white with good things. This distinction could have implications for how they relate to fair-skinned and dark-skinned people in the future.

On the other hand, experts have found that the color black is associated with negative moods. Sadness, pain, anger and anger are some of the feelings that are related to him.

Reflections on color

  • The color black conveys a sense of power and authority. This is why judges and magistrates in much of the world wear black robes.
  • Wearing black, when done with informal garments, refers to a rude, rebellious or defiant attitude. Many sports teams use this principle to their advantage on uniforms.
  • According to the evidence, people with depression tend to sympathize with the color black and brown.
  • Black is associated with elegance or good taste, especially in formal settings.

The latter seems to be the only positive effect that can be drawn from the meaning of the color black. For this reason it is a color widely used in the fashion industry, in advertising campaigns and some products.. An excess of it can immediately evoke a pessimistic sense, so it is used with caution in the case of the last two examples.

Meaning of the color black in different cultures

Up to this point you have learned aspects of the meaning of the color black that you were completely ignorant of. For you to become an expert of this color, we leave you with its transcendence in different cultures:

  • It was one of the capital colors in the pictorial representations of the caves. The simplest tool they used to etch it was charcoal.
  • The Egyptians considered the color black as a sign of fertility and abundance.
  • Black was a color reserved for artisans in ancient Rome.
  • It is a central color in statues and ceramics of civilizations around the world.
  • It was used by the Benedictine monks as a sign of humility.
  • For much of the Middle Ages it was associated with evil and sin.
  • During and after the French Revolution the color black was held in high esteem.
  • In Japan black is a symbol of experience (among many other meanings).
  • It has been a predominant color in military uniforms until very recently.

Although it is true that the color black is mainly associated with negative aspects, in general everything depends on the tone and the circumstances in which it is used. As with all other colors, its influence is often undervalued, and even goes completely unnoticed.

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