Why are Goblins Green?

Well, we could tell you the answer, but isn’t it more fun to guess?

The meaning of a goblin’s green skin is in one of these idioms: 1. To go green on someone.

2. The be green with envy.

3. To be green around the gills.

4. The green-eyed monster.


1. To go green on someone – this means to get upset or angry with someone. ‘She went totally green on me and told me to get out!’

2. To be green with envy – your friend just bought a new car but you’re still riding the bus. You might feel green with envy because they have better transport than you.

3. To be green or green around the gills means to look ill. This idiom relates to the reason goblins are green. Goblins live in damp caves or old buildings and like to sneak around at night. They rarely go out in the sun and this is why they never look healthy!


4. The green-eyed monster – this is an idiom for jealousy, which is a stronger emotion than envy. ‘The green-eyed monster got me when I saw my ex-girlfriend with a new man’ means 'I felt extremely jealous'.

Goblins in British Folklore

Myths about goblins are extremely popular in British folklore. Like the goblins in Harry Potter films, they love money and treasure and usually have a secret treasure chest hidden somewhere! British goblins are much more dangerous than the ones who work in Gringotts Bank. In myths and legends, goblins are often cold-hearted murderers.

However, there are some nicer members of the goblin family, like hobgoblins. These cousins of green goblins are usually small and helpful. They prefer to live with a family and keep the home clean and tidy… most of the time. At other times, hobgoblins can be quite naughty.

Here we have another link to Harry Potter, because J.K. Rowling used lots of beings from British folklore in her books.