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 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.’
- ‘She always double-checks that the traffic has stopped, even if there is a green man.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘I nipped across the first part in a gap in the traffic, then waited for the green man.’
- ‘Some people press the ‘please wait’ button at a pedestrian crossing but then cross before the green man gives them permission.’
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.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘He is clearly a type of the green man, living on the margins, reminding us of our origins among the animals.’
- 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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