During post-classical and early modern Europe, green was the color commonly associated with wealth, merchants, bankers and the gentry, while red was reserved for the nobility. For this reason, the costume of the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci and the benches in the British House of Commons are green while those in the House of Lords are red. It also has a long historical tradition as the color of Ireland and of Gaelic culture. It is the historic color of Islam, representing the lush vegetation of Paradise. It was the color of the banner of Muhammad, and is found in the flags of nearly all Islamic countries.
In surveys made in American, European, and Islamic countries, green is the color most commonly associated with nature, life, health, youth, spring, hope and envy. In the European Union and the United States, green is also sometimes associated with toxicity and poor health, but in China and most of Asia, its associations are very positive, as the symbol of fertility and happiness. Because of its association with nature, it is the color of the environmental movement. Political groups advocating environmental protection and social justice describe themselves as part of the Green movement, some naming themselves Green parties. This has led to similar campaigns in advertising, as companies have sold green, or environmentally friendly, products. Green is also the traditional color of safety and permission; a green light means go ahead, a green card permits permanent residence in the United States.
The word green comes from the Middle English and Old English word grene, which, like the German word grün, has the same root as the words grass and grow. It is from a Common Germanic *gronja-, which is also reflected in Old Norse grænn, Old High German gruoni (but unattested in East Germanic), ultimately from a PIE root *ghre- "to grow", and root-cognate with grass and to grow. The first recorded use of the word as a color term in Old English dates to ca. AD 700.
Latin with viridis also has a genuine and widely used term for "green". Related to virere "to grow" and ver "spring", it gave rise to words in several Romance languages, French vert, Italian verde (and English vert, verdure etc.). Likewise the Slavic languages with zelenъ. Ancient Greek also had a term for yellowish, pale green – χλωρός, chloros (cf. the color of chlorine), cognate with χλοερός "verdant" and χλόη "the green of new growth".
Thus, the languages mentioned above (Germanic, Romance, Slavic, Greek) have old terms for "green" which are derived from words for fresh, sprouting vegetation. However, comparative linguistics makes clear that these terms were coined independently, over the past few millennia, and there is no identifiable single Proto-Indo-European or word for "green". For example, the Slavic zelenъ is cognate with Sanskrit hari "yellow, ochre, golden". The Turkic languages also have jašɨl "green" or "yellowish green", compared to a Mongolian word for "meadow".