Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Gray and Grey

Gray vs Grey

The color, grey, has two spellings but they mean exactly the same. It is not clear when the spelling became different or which spelling was first used to refer to the color grey but one thing is sure, they are one and the same.

Grey is described as the color from black to white. It is also called a neutral color or an achromatic color. The term was first used in the English language in the year AD 700.

The color grey can be a combination of different colors that have warm and cool casts. Grey can result from combining the colors yellow, orange, and red. The resulting color will be warm grey. Combining blue, green and violet together can result to a cool grey.

Grey complements itself; it remains grey even if the color spectrum is inverted. It is its own opposite or it does not have an opposite at all.

The term grey is used in different aspects of life. Environmentalists describe people who prefer city life and materials as greys, while they describe themselves as greens. In ethics, it is used to describe situations that have no clear moral values and to balance an all-black or all-white view.

It has also been used as a military dress code, in music, politics, poetry, sports and television. It is associated with the passage of time, which is due to the graying of the human hair as a person gets older.

The color grey has also been associated with folklore and mythology, with the goddess Athena having grey eyes. People that are suffering from mental illness or depression are said to have grey auras.

Grey connotes different meanings to different aspects of man’s life.  It is usually used to describe something that has no clear meaning or something in between. It is even being used to describe gays. UFO conspiracy theorists refer to intelligent alien humanoids as greys.

Gray on the other hand can refer to a band, a horse which is sometimes mistaken for a white horse, a unit of energy for absorbed dose of radiation, a code used to reduce bit change between adjacent values or a person with the surname, Gray.

It is also the spelling of the color grey that is being used in the United States. Artists sometimes use the two different spellings to make the distinction between grey that is the result of a combination of black and white and grey that is the result of a combination of other colors.


1. The two spellings are used to describe the grey color that results from combining either black and white or the grey color that results from combining other colors like blue, violet and green or red, orange and yellow.
2. Grey is the spelling most widely used while gray is the spelling used in the United States.
3. Grey is the opposite of itself.
4. Both grey and gray are used to describe a color; the only difference is in the spelling.

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1 Comment

  1. Very useful site, well written entry. EXCEPT… “they [grey and gray] mean exactly the same thing”??? Fortunately, the next two paragraphs go on to explain the very important difference —as artists can attest to— between the two. Please consider updating your entry. Thanks

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