Now, the VOA Special English program, WORDS AND THEIR STORIES.
Green is an important color in nature. It is the color of grass and the
leaves on trees. It is also the color of most growing plants.
Sometimes, the word green means young, fresh and growing.
Sometimes, it describes something that is not yet ripe or finished.
For example, a greenhorn is someone who has no experience,
who is new to a situation. In the fifteenth century, a greenhorn was a young
cow or ox whose horns had not yet developed. A century or so later, a greenhorn
was a soldier who had not yet had any experience in battle. By the eighteenth
century, a greenhorn had the meaning it has today - a person who is new in a
About one hundred years ago, greenhorn was a popular expression in the
American west. Old-timers used it to describe a man who had just arrived from
one of the big cities back east. The greenhorn lacked the skills he would need
to live in the hard, rough country.
Someone who has the ability to grow plants well is said to have a
green thumb. The expression comes from the early nineteen
A person with a green thumb seems to have a magic touch that
makes plants grow quickly and well. You might say that the woman next door has a
green thumb if her garden continues to grow long after your plants have died.
The Green Revolution is the name given some years ago to the
development of new kinds of rice and other grains. The new plants produced much
larger crops. The Green Revolution was the result of hard work by agricultural
scientists who had green thumbs.
Green is also the color used to describe the powerful emotion, jealousy. The
green-eyed monster is not a frightening creature from outer
space. It is an expression used about four hundred years ago by British writer
William Shakespeare in his play "Othello."
It describes the unpleasant feeling a person has when someone has something he
wants. A young man may suffer from the green-eyed monster if his girlfriend
begins going out with someone else. Or, that green-eyed monster may affect your
friend if you get a pay raise and she does not.
In most places in the world, a green light is a sign to move ahead. A
green light on a traffic signal means your car can continue on. In everyday
speech, a green light means approval to continue with a
project. We want you to know we have a green light to continue this series next
This VOA Special English program, WORDS AND THEIR STORIES, was written by
Marilyn Christiano. I'm Warren Scheer.