How green are you? Tim Bowen explains why he's not asking about your colour!

The word green is highly topical at the present time as concerns about global warming and other environmental issues dominate the headlines. Dictionaries typically give six or seven definitions of green, beginning with the most obvious (and presumably the most common) use, namely the colour, but the use of green to refer to environmental protection is increasingly widespread.

The first political party dedicated to environmental issues was formed in Australia in 1972 but the use of the word green to describe such groups probably originated with the German grün party that contested the national elections in Germany in 1980. More than 100 countries around the world now have green parties and green issues are in the spotlight. Some politicians propose special green taxes and green energy is a burning issue. All of this seems quite far removed from the increasingly rare use of green to denote naïve or inexperienced. Or possibly not.  

However, if you look green (or green-around-the-gills) you are said to look ill.