Grey - Gray in Culture

Gray in Culture


  • Greys has been used pejoratively by environmentalists to describe technophiles as being those who like granite, concrete and other city materials, as opposed to the term "greens" to describe those in favor of environmentalism.


  • In a moral sense grey is either used
    • pejoratively to describe situations that have no clear moral value, or
    • positively to balance an all-black or all-white view (for example, shades of grey represent magnitudes of good and bad).


  • In folklore, grey is often associated with goblin folk of several kinds. Scandinavian folklore often depicts their gnomes and nisser in grey clothing. This is partly because of their association with dusk, partly because these races, including elves (see below), often are outside moral standards (black or white).


  • The color grey is often associated with aging or the passage of time, likely due in part to the decreased pigment-production of hair follicles in time, corresponding to the greying of human hair. In this context, grey is often used synonymously with "elderly," as in "the grey pound" or "grey power" (when referring to the economic or social influence of the elderly), or as used by groups such as the Gray Panthers.


  • In J. R. R. Tolkien's works:
    • Gandalf is called the Grey Pilgrim.
    • The Grey Havens
    • The Grey Elves
    • Ered Mithrin, the Grey Mountains. Tolkien chose grey from folklore tradition mentioned above.
    • The Noldor and the Dúnedain typically have grey eyes.
  • Rand al'Thor of Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time is described as having grey eyes.
  • In the series The T*Witches, those of magical power are described as having grey eyes.
  • In Michael Ende's Momo, the men in gray are malicious spirits who prey on people's time and trick them into "saving" it.
  • In Don DeLillo's 1985 novel White Noise, the inventor of Dylar is at first only referred to as Mr. Gray.
  • Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser are two seminal sword-and-sorcery fantasy heroes created by Fritz Leiber.
  • The Brenin Llwyd, the eponymous antagonist of The Grey King, by Susan Cooper.
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray is a novel by Oscar Wilde.
  • The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit, by Sloan Wilson, is a 1950s novel and film about the American search for purpose in a world dominated by business.
  • Gray Lensman by E.E. Smith is part of the Lensman series.


  • The "Gray Lady" is the nickname of the New York Times


  • In the American Civil War, Confederate Army uniforms were gray, and the two sides in the war were sometimes called "The Blue and the Gray".
  • The military of Nazi Germany used a green-grey shade called feldgrau.


  • A purposely nonsensical line in Paul Simon's song "I Do It For Your Love": "We were married / On a rainy day / The sky was yellow / And the grass was gray."
  • A song from The Kinks Muswell Hillbillies album is titled Here Come the People in Gray.


  • Grey goo is to a hypothetical end-of-the-world scenario involving molecular nanotechnology in which out-of-control self-replicating nanobots consume all living matter on Earth while building more of themselves (a scenario known as ecophagy).


  • The substance that composes the brain is referred to as "grey matter", and so the color grey is associated with things intellectual.


  • It has been asserted that those who are suffering from the mental illness of depression have grey auras.


  • The Grey vote is older voters, since older voters more often turn out to vote they are disproportionately important.
  • Martin Bormann was called the grey eminence because, as the executive secretary to Adolf Hitler, he amassed great power behind the scene, because he was the one who controlled access to the Führer. The phrase originated as a description of François Leclerc du Tremblay, the French monk who served as advisor to Cardinal de Richelieu.
  • The National Renaissance Party was an American neo-fascist group led by James Hartung Madole. The party was active from 1949 to 1979 and was also known as the grey shirts.
  • Grey is associated by some with former British Prime Minister John Major. His puppet on Spitting Image was entirely grey implying that he was incredibly dull.


  • Grey is often associated with things that are dull and boring
  • Grey represents pessimism whereas its opposite, optimism, is represented by the color rose.
  • A concept that is in a grey area is a concept about which one is unsure what category in which to place it.


  • In the Christian religion, grey is the color of ashes, and so a biblical symbol of mourning and repentance, described as sackcloth and ashes. It can be used during Lent or on special days of fasting and prayer.


  • In the bandana code of the gay leather subculture, wearing a grey bandana means that one is into the fetish of bondage.
  • In gay slang, a grey queen is a gay person who works for the financial services industry (this term originates from the fact that in the 1950s, people who worked in this profession often wore grey flannel suits).

Sound Engineering

  • Grey noise is random noise subjected to a psychoacoustic equal loudness curve (such as an inverted A-weighting curve) over a given range of frequencies, giving the listener the perception that it is equally loud at all frequencies.


  • In baseball, grey is the color typically used for road uniforms. This came about because in the 19th and early 20th century, away teams didn't normally have access to laundry facilities on the road, thus stains were not noticeable on the darker grey uniforms as opposed to the white uniforms worn by the home team.


  • The Grey Council consists of the nine leaders of the Minbari in the Babylon 5 universe.
  • Grey's Anatomy is a popular drama TV series. This name is derived from the anatomy textbook Gray's Anatomy


  • In popular UFO conspiracy theories and in science-fiction, small grey aliens, with large, tear-shaped black eyes are referred to as greys.


  • The color is also used as an recurring theme in the well-known internet Japanese Manga, Grey is..., by Diana M. Al-Abbadi, better known by her alias deeJuusan.

Read more about this topic:  Grey

Famous quotes containing the words gray and/or culture:

    Decade after decade, artists came to paint the light of Provincetown, and comparisons were made to the lagoons of Venice and the marshes of Holland, but then the summer ended and most of the painters left, and the long dingy undergarment of the gray New England winter, gray as the spirit of my mood, came down to visit.
    Norman Mailer (b. 1923)

    ... we’ve allowed a youth-centered culture to leave us so estranged from our future selves that, when asked about the years beyond fifty, sixty, or seventy—all part of the average human life span providing we can escape hunger, violence, and other epidemics—many people can see only a blank screen, or one on which they project fear of disease and democracy.
    Gloria Steinem (b. 1934)