As much as it sucks, it's a feeling we all experience, once in a while. For whatever reason, we all have felt sad or in other words we've all been 'blue'. While it is common knowledge that it means feeling sad, sorrowed, depressed and a whole bunch of other gut-wrenching emotions, we've never questioned the association.

Why would we use a colour to describe our feeling? So what is it with the colour blue? Why is it associated with feeling sad?

Source: 500px

As I set out looking for the origin, I thought a quick Google search would do it. Well, that's the thing about the internet. It is a bank of information. And that bank sometimes has several different accounts.

While some claim the explanation lies in Greek mythology, there are sources that say it has a nautical origin. Some attribute it to poets of the 14th century, while there are some who credit its origin as recent as 2003. So let's have a look at all possibilities.

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In Greek mythology, blue is associated with rain.

As far Zeus was concerned, whenever he was angry he would create a storm but whenever he was sad or crying, he would make it rain. Thus, the connection between the colour and the feeling.

Source: baringtheaegis

Let's move on to the 14th century. In 1385, poet Geoffrey Chaucer used 'blewe' in his poem "The Complaint of Mars". He writes:

"Wyth teres blewe and with a wounded herte."

Which basically translates to: "With tears blue and with a wounded heart"

The explanation here is simple. Blue is associated to tears and hence, sadness.

Source: biography

A Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue (1785) states Blue to mean - to look blue; to be confounded, terrified, or disappointed. More importantly, it states that Blue Devils means low spirits. Again establishing that blue is related to being low.

Similarly, according to the Dictionary of Americanisms (1848), Blue means - Gloomy, severe; extreme, ultra. And Blue Devils here too has been stated to mean low spirits.

Source: bonbonbreak

According to the Oxford Dictionary, the word could be a derivation from the word 'blow'. A blow to your body would generally turn you blue. So will extreme cold or lack of oxygen. None of these situations seem pleasant. In fact, all of them have a very melancholic connotation. Hence, connecting blue to the feeling yet again.

Source: saidaonline

The Navy too has a link to 'feeling blue'. It refers to a custom that many old deepwater sailing ships follow. Which is - If the ship lost the captain or any of the officers during its voyage, she would fly blue flags and have a blue band painted along her entire hull when returning to home port.

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An extensive research paper by Gill Philip states how the hue itself is a major reason of associating the colour with the emotion - The proximity of dark blue to black on the colour scale, and its historical grouping with dark colours, may have contributed to blue’s links to depression and to fear.

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Sciencedaily has a different theory altogether, based on recent scientific research. The research says - The associations we make between emotion and colour go beyond mere metaphor. The results of two studies indicate that feeling sadness may actually change how we perceive colour.

Source: careway

It's just unbelievable that a phrase can have so many possible origins. This is as intriguing as it gets. Blew you away, didn't it?

H/T: oxford dictionary, english.stackexchange, navy.mil, quora