Etymology
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livid (adj.)

early 15c., "of a bluish-leaden color," from Old French livide (13c.) and directly from Latin lividus "of a bluish color, black-and-blue," figuratively "envious, spiteful, malicious," from livere "be bluish," earlier *slivere, from PIE *sliwo-, suffixed form of root *sleiə- "bluish" (source also of Old Church Slavonic and Russian sliva "plum;" Lithuanian slyvas "plum;" Old Irish li, Welsh lliw "color, splendor," Old English sla "sloe").

Somehow it has come to be associated with "pale, colorless." The sense of "furiously angry" (1912) is from the notion of being livid with rage. Perhaps this is the key to the meaning shift. Rage makes some dark-red-faced; purple with rage is not uncommon in old novels (" 'My money! ye pirate! or I'll strangle you.' And he advanced upon him purple with rage, and shot out his long threatening arm, and brown fingers working in the air.") while it makes others go pale, also a figure in old novels ("At this juncture, the door opened, and, pale with rage, her eyes flashing fire, Lady Audley stood before them.")

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lividity (n.)
early 15c., "bluish or leaden color," from Old French lividite and Medieval Latin lividitatem (nominative lividitas), noun of state from past participle stem of Latin livere "be bluish" (see livid).
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sloe (n.)

fruit of the blackthorn, Old English slah (plural slan), from Proto-Germanic *slaikhwon (source also of Middle Dutch sleeu, Dutch slee, Old High German sleha, German Schlehe), from PIE *sleiə- "blue, bluish, blue-black" (see livid).

The vowel has been influenced by that in the old plural form, which according to OED persisted into the 17c. Scottish slae preserves the older vowel. Sloe-eyed is attested from 1804; sloe gin first recorded 1878.

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lavender (n.)

"fragrant plant of the mint family," c. 1300, from Anglo-French lavendre, Old French lavendre "the lavender plant," from Medieval Latin lavendula "lavender" (10c.), perhaps from Latin lividus "bluish, livid" (see livid). If so, it probably was associated with French lavande, Italian lavanda "a washing" (from Latin lavare "to wash;" from PIE root *leue- "to wash") because it was used to scent washed fabrics and as a bath perfume.

The adjective meaning "of a pale purple color, of the color of lavender flowers" is from 1840; as a noun in the color sense from 1882. An identical Middle English word meant "laundress, washerwoman;" also, apparently, "prostitute, whore; camp follower" and is attested as a surname from early 13c.

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lurid (adj.)

1650s, "pale, wan," from Latin luridus "pale yellow, ghastly, the color of bruises," a word of uncertain origin and etymology, perhaps cognate with Greek khlōros "pale green, greenish-yellow" (see Chloe), or connected to Latin lividus (see livid).

It has more to do with the interplay of light and darkness than it does with color. It suggests a combination of light and gloom; "Said, e.g. of the sickly pallor of the skin in disease, or of the aspect of things when the sky is overcast" [OED]; "having the character of a light which does not show the colors of objects" [Century Dictionary]. Meaning "glowing in the darkness" is from 1727 ("of the color or appearance of dull smoky flames" - Century Dictionary]. In scientific use (1767) "of a dingy brown or yellowish-brown color" [OED]. The figurative sense of "sensational" is first attested 1850, via the notion of "ominous" (if from the flames sense) or "ghastly" (if from the older sense). Related: Luridly.

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perse (adj.)

late 13c., "blue, bluish-gray," later "rich, dark blue; purplish-black," from Old French pers "(dark) blue, livid; wan, pale," from Late Latin persus, perhaps a back-formation from one of the early European forms of Persia. Compare indigo, from India.

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furious (adj.)
late 14c., "impetuous, unrestrained," from Old French furios, furieus "furious, enraged, livid" (14c., Modern French furieux), from Latin furiosus "full of rage, mad," from furia "rage, passion, fury" (see fury). Furioso, from the Italian form of the word, was used in English 17c.-18c. for "an enraged person," probably from Ariosto's "Orlando Furioso."
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*pel- (1)

Proto-Indo-European root meaning "pale."

It forms all or part of: appall; falcon; fallow (adj.) "pale yellow, brownish yellow;" Fauvist; Lloyd; pale (adj.); pallid; pallor; palomino; Peloponnesus; polio; poliomyelitis.

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit palitah "gray," panduh "whitish, pale;" Greek pelios "livid, dark;" polios "gray" (of hair, wolves, waves); Latin pallere "to be pale," pallidus "pale, pallid, wan, colorless;" Old Church Slavonic plavu, Lithuanian palvas "sallow;" Welsh llwyd "gray;" Old English fealo, fealu "dull-colored, yellow, brown." It also forms the root of words for "pigeon" in Greek (peleia), Latin (palumbes), and Old Prussian (poalis).

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blue (adj.1)

"of the color of the clear sky," c. 1300, bleu, blwe, etc., "sky-colored," also "livid, lead-colored," from Old French blo, bleu "pale, pallid, wan, light-colored; blond; discolored; blue, blue-gray," from Frankish *blao or some other Germanic source, from Proto-Germanic *blæwaz (source also of Old English blaw, Old Saxon and Old High German blao, Danish blaa, Swedish blå, Old Frisian blau, Middle Dutch bla, Dutch blauw, German blau "blue").

This is from PIE *bhle-was "light-colored, blue, blond, yellow," from root *bhel- (1) "to shine, flash, burn," also "shining white" and forming words for bright colors. The same PIE root yielded Latin flavus "yellow," Old Spanish blavo "yellowish-gray," Greek phalos "white," Welsh blawr "gray," showing the slipperiness of definition in Indo-European color-words. Many Indo-European languages seem to have had a word to describe the color of the sea, encompassing blue and green and gray; such as Irish glass (from PIE root *ghel- (2) "to shine,"); Old English hæwen "blue, gray," related to har (see hoar); Serbo-Croatian sinji "gray-blue, sea-green;" Lithuanian šyvas, Russian sivyj "gray."

The present spelling in English is since 16c., common from c. 1700. The sense "lead-colored, blackish-blue, darkened as if by bruising" is perhaps by way of the Old Norse cognate bla "livid, lead-colored." It is the meaning in black and blue, and blue in the face "livid with effort" (1864, earlier black and blue in the face, 1829).

The color of constancy since Chaucer at least, but apparently for no deeper reason than the rhyme in true blue (c. 1500). Figurative meaning "sad, sorrowful, afflicted with low spirits" is from c. 1400, perhaps from the "livid" sense and implying a bruised heart or feelings. Of women, "learned, pedantic," by 1788 (see bluestocking). In some phrases, such as blue murder, it appears to be merely intensive. Blue was by c. 1600 the distinctive color of the dress of servants, which may be the reason police uniforms are blue, a tradition Farmer dates to Elizabethan times.

Blue pencil as an editor's characteristic tool to mark corrections in copy is from 1885; also as a verb from 1885. The fabulous story of Blue-beard, who kept his murdered wives in a locked room, is from 1798. For blue ribbon see cordon bleu under cordon. Blue whale attested from 1851, so called for its color. Blue cheese is from 1862. Blue water "the open ocean" is from 1822. Blue streak, of something resembling a bolt of lightning (for quickness, intensity, etc.) is from 1830, Kentucky slang. Delaware has been the Blue Hen State at least since 1830, supposedly from a nickname of its regiments in the Revolutionary War.

The exact color to which the Gmc. term applies varies in the older dialects; M.H.G. bla is also 'yellow,' whereas the Scandinavian words may refer esp. to a deep, swarthy black, e.g. O.N. blamaðr, N.Icel. blamaður 'Negro' [Buck]
Few words enter more largely into the composition of slang, and colloquialisms bordering on slang, than does the word BLUE. Expressive alike of the utmost contempt, as of all that men hold dearest and love best, its manifold combinations, in ever varying shades of meaning, greet the philologist at every turn. [John S. Farmer, "Slang and Its Analogues Past and Present," 1890, p.252]
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black (adj.)
Origin and meaning of black

Old English blæc "absolutely dark, absorbing all light, the color of soot or coal," from Proto-Germanic *blakaz "burned" (source also of Old Norse blakkr "dark," Old High German blah "black," Swedish bläck "ink," Dutch blaken "to burn"), from PIE *bhleg- "to burn, gleam, shine, flash" (source also of Greek phlegein "to burn, scorch," Latin flagrare "to blaze, glow, burn"), from root *bhel- (1) "to shine, flash, burn."

The same root produced Old English blac "bright, shining, glittering, pale;" the connecting notions being, perhaps, "fire" (bright) and "burned" (dark), or perhaps "absence of color." "There is nothing more variable than the signification of words designating colour" [Hensleigh Wedgwood, "A Dictionary of English Etymology," 1859].

The usual Old English word for "black" was sweart (see swart). According to OED: "In ME. it is often doubtful whether blac, blak, blake, means 'black, dark,' or 'pale, colourless, wan, livid.' " Used of dark-skinned people in Old English.

Of coffee with nothing added, attested by 1796. Black drop (1823) was a liquid preparation of opium, used medicinally. Black-fly (c. 1600) was used of various insects, especially an annoying pest of the northern American woods. Black Prince as a nickname of the eldest son of Edward III is attested by 1560s; the exact signification is uncertain.

Meaning "fierce, terrible, wicked" is from late 14c. Figurative senses often come from the notion of "without light," moral or spiritual. Latin niger had many of the same figurative senses ("gloomy; unlucky; bad, wicked, malicious"). The metaphoric use of the Greek word, melas, however, tended to reflect the notion of "shrouded in darkness, overcast." In English it has been the color of sin and sorrow at least since c. 1300; the sense of "with dark purposes, malignant" emerged 1580s (in black art "necromancy;" it is also the sense in black magic). Black flag, flown (especially by pirates) as a signal of "no mercy," is from 1590s. Black dog "melancholy" attested from 1826.

Black belt is from 1870 in reference to district extending across the U.S. South with heaviest African population (also sometimes in reference to the fertility of the soil); it is attested from 1913 in the judo sense, worn by one who has attained a certain high degree of proficiency. Black power is from 1966, associated with Stokely Carmichael. Black English "English as spoken by African-Americans," is by 1969. The Black Panther (1965) movement was an outgrowth of Student Nonviolent Co-ordinating Committee. Black studies is attested from 1968.

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