One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1(in the UK) a symbol of an illuminated green human figure at a pedestrian crossing, indicating that it is safe to cross the road.
- ‘I've almost been run over by them god knows how many times, but if I only crossed the road when the green man flashes, I probably wouldn't have this problem.’
- ‘Some people press the ‘please wait’ button at a pedestrian crossing but then cross before the green man gives them permission.’
- ‘I nipped across the first part in a gap in the traffic, then waited for the green man.’
- ‘She always double-checks that the traffic has stopped, even if there is a green man.’
- ‘I have needed to push my children out of the way of oncoming traffic when using this crossing, even when the lights are on red and the green man is on.’
2historical A man dressed up in greenery to represent a wild man of the woods or seasonal fertility.
- ‘This nineteenth century green man holds out the prophetic possibility of restoration with nature, and in doing so reinforces our own sense of exile from it.’
- ‘He is clearly a type of the green man, living on the margins, reminding us of our origins among the animals.’
- ‘Jack in the Bush is an alternative name for a green man, the leaf-clad figure who appears in sculptures and is associated in European folklore with spring festivals.’
- 2.1 A carved image of a green man, often seen in medieval English churches as a human face with branches and foliage growing out of the mouth.
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