A metaphorical spectrum
This chapter investigates the figurative use of a selection of colour words in the Historical Thesaurus of English, published as the Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary (Kay et al. 2009) and containing the recorded vocabulary of the language from Old English to the present. The adopted methodology slightly adapts that of the AHRC-funded Mapping Metaphor project, which is examining the distribution of metaphors across time in English through an investigation of metaphorical links between concepts signalled by areas of significant lexical overlap between Thesaurus categories. In this chapter, we empirically examine metaphorical and other relationships between colour and a range of other semantic categories, through the examples of the colour terms black, white, blue, yellow and green.