black


black
   Many traditional meanings of black are gloomy: night, death, evil, or the *Devil. Yet *chimney-sweeps are lucky, as is *coal, a black *cat, and (according to some sources) a single black lamb in a flock (Latham, 1878: 8, 10; Opie and Tatem, 1989: 29). The same is sometimes true of Negroes; one account of the Second World War mentions 'an African air-raid warden nicknamed Uncle Sam' who found people believed that because of his colour he was a lucky omen; 'He once calmed a panic in a shelter of 120 people, in the dark, by shining a torch on his face' (Norman Longmate, How We Lived Then (1971), 132).
   In some seasonal customs, the performers blacken their faces with soot, ashes, or burnt cork (e.g. the *Bacup Coconut Dancers, various *mummers); this is of course a convenient disguise, but since other easily available substances (flour, chalk) were rarely used, it is likely that black was deliberately chosen. The underlying reason may be the idea that dirt is lucky (see *excrement), or it may be because social norms are inverted at festive seasons.

A Dictionary of English folklore. . 2014.

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  • Black — (bl[a^]k), a. [OE. blak, AS. bl[ae]c; akin to Icel. blakkr dark, swarthy, Sw. bl[ a]ck ink, Dan. bl[ae]k, OHG. blach, LG. & D. blaken to burn with a black smoke. Not akin to AS. bl[=a]c, E. bleak pallid. [root]98.] 1. Destitute of light, or… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • black — black; black·a·moor; black·bird·er; black·burn; black·burn·ian; black·en; black·en·er; black·guard·ery; black·guard·ism; black·guard·ly; black·ie; black·ish; black·leg·gery; black·leg·ism; black·ly; black·neck; black·nob; black·pool; black·shop;… …   English syllables

  • black — [blak] adj. [ME blak < OE blæc < IE * bhleg , burn, gleam (> L flagrare, flame, burn) < base * bhel , to gleam, white: orig. sense, “sooted, smoke black from flame”] 1. opposite to white; of the color of coal or pitch: see COLOR 2.… …   English World dictionary

  • Black — ist das englische Wort für Schwarz eine besonders im US amerikanischen Sprachgebrauch verwendete Bezeichnung für Afroamerikaner ein häufiger Familienname, siehe Black (Familienname) in der Theaterbeleuchtung eine Lichtszene ohne Licht, meist um… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Black — Black, n. 1. That which is destitute of light or whiteness; the darkest color, or rather a destitution of all color; as, a cloth has a good black. [1913 Webster] Black is the badge of hell, The hue of dungeons, and the suit of night. Shak. [1913… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • black — ► ADJECTIVE 1) of the very darkest colour owing to the absence of or complete absorption of light. 2) deeply stained with dirt. 3) (of coffee or tea) served without milk. 4) relating to a human group having dark coloured skin, especially of… …   English terms dictionary

  • black — [ blak ] n. et adj. • 1790; mot angl. « noir » 1 ♦ Anglic. Fam. Personne de race noire. « Les beurs, blacks et autres banlieusards » (Libération, 1987). ♢ Adj. Musiciens blacks. Mode, musique black. 2 ♦ Loc. adv. Au black : au noir, sans être… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • black — black, blacken verbs. Black is used when the meaning is to deliberately make something black, as in blacking one s face, one s shoes, a person s eye, etc., in the meaning to declare something ‘black’ (i.e. to boycott it), and in the phrasal verb… …   Modern English usage

  • Black — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Black (en castellano: negro) puede referirse a: Música Black, la canción de Pearl Jam; Black, una banda británica de música; Black metal, subgénero musical; Black/Doom, subgénero musical; Miscelánea Black, videojuego …   Wikipedia Español

  • Black — Black, James W. Black, Josep * * * (as used in expressions) Black and Tan Black Sox, escándalo de los Black, Hugo (La Fayette) Black, Sir James (Whyte) black bass Shirley Temple Black …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Black — Black, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Blacked}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Blacking}.] [See {Black}, a., and cf. {Blacken}.] [1913 Webster] 1. To make black; to blacken; to soil; to sully. [1913 Webster] They have their teeth blacked, both men and women, for they… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English