What are the Fifty Shades of Grey?

atkins-bookshelf-wordsThe title “Fifty Shades of Grey” reflects the complexity of the protagonist, Christian Grey, in E.L. James’s steamy best-selling novel. In an interview James explained that she chose “Grey” for the main character because nothing is black or white and she did not want to judge Christian Grey, but simply share the story of a tormented man with many shades. But why 50 shades? Ignacio Zara, assistant managing editor of Yareah Magazine, believes that James chose 50 because it is a favorable number; he writes: “In numerology 50 has a magical power because it reinforces the number 5… The number 5 is the bird, the freest of all animals. It is also known as the traveler, as a bird is very restless and loves to meet many different places and people. In fact, it believes that travel and adventure is the way of knowledge. It’s the most fun of all being, but sometimes it behaves like a liar and swindler.”

Trying to keep up with popular culture, the prim and proper editors of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) sat uncomfortably through the film released on Valentine’s Day, watching it though the slits between their fingers, blushing and squirming down into their seats, staring down at tubs of popcorn, during the sexually explicit scenes. As the screen faded to black, the relieved editors rushed back to their office to come up with a list of words related to the movie. The editors passed over the obvious salacious terms like bondage/discipline, dominance submission (BDSM), nipple clamps, flogging, safe words, and full Brazilian wax in favor of compiling a list of 50 synonyms for grey (they actually found 80). Below are 50 shades of grey found in the OED. Fortunately, none of these words will make you blush:

aluminum
ash
battleship grey
bice
blae
blunket
bone-grey
butter-nut
canvas
charcoal
cinereous
columbine
crane
elephant’s breath
ferreous
ficelle-coloured
field grey
flinty
glawke
greige
grey
grisard
griseous
grisy
grizzly
grysande
gun-metal
hoary
incanescent
kennet-colour
leaden
London smoke
mole
neutral
Payne’s grey
pearly
pewter
plumbean
plumby
sabelline
schistous
slate
smoky
steel
stone
subcineritious
tattle-tale grey
walnyed
wan
waterish

Read related posts: The Surprising Titles of Famous Novels
The Most Influential People Who Never Lived

For further reading: http://blog.oxforddictionaries.com/2015/02/oed-fifty-shades-of-grey/
http://yareah.com/2014/08/15/fifty-shades-grey-meaning-title-50-shadows/

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