'Green' vs 'Hazel Eyes': What's the Difference?

By Amy Gilmore, updated on September 8, 2023

If you are looking for the difference between 'green' vs. 'hazel' eyes, this post will help.

Here is a brief answer:

  • 'Green' eyes have a solid-colored iris that is a shade of light to dark green. 
  • 'Hazel' eyes means irises ranging in color from greenish to grayish brown. 

Learn more about what people consider 'green' vs. 'hazel' eyes by reading this entire guide!

What is the Difference Between 'Green' vs. 'Hazel' Eyes?

People often debate the difference between 'green' vs. 'hazel' eyes. However, 'green' eyes are a solid color, while 'hazel' fades from brown to gray or 'green.'

  • People with 'green' eyes usually appear to have the same color irises.
  • 'Hazel' eyes can vary depending on the light, from dark brown to light green with brown flecks.

'Hazel' eyes can actually be any color that fades from one color close to the pupil to a lighter shade toward the outside edge of the iris.

When and How to Use 'Green' vs. 'Hazel' Eyes

Now that you have an idea of the difference between these two eye colors, here are some tips for when and how to use 'green' vs. 'hazel' eyes.

  • Use 'green' eyes when describing someone with solid-colored irises that appear to be 'green' all the time.

For example, I might say:

My father has the most beautiful emerald green eyes. 

  • Use 'hazel' eyes to describe eyes that fade from one color to another or have a burst of brown near the pupil that fades into light gray or green.

As an example, you could say:

My hazel eyes look brown inside, but in the light, they appear to be green with a burst of golden brown in the center. 

  • Use 'green' eyes for solid-colored irises that appear gray in some lights and green in others.

So, you might say:

His green eyes look gray in low light and vibrant green in the sun. 

  • Use 'hazel' eyes to describe any with irises that change from one color to another.

As an example, I could say:

Janet has the most unique hazel eyes. They are brown near the pupil, and they fade into a bluish-gray-green color.

Definition of 'Green': What Does 'Green' Mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the meaning of the adjective 'green' is:

  • Of a color ranging from yellow to blue on the color wheel

It can also mean:

  • Covered by green foliage
  • Consisting of edible foliage and green plants
  • Mild weather
  • Unripened or immature
  • Lacking training
  • Fresh and new
  • Pleasantly alluring

'Green' can also be a noun that means:

  • A hue that is less yellow than healthy green grass or the color of emeralds
  • A hue between yellow and blue on a color wheel
  • A grassy plain or plot of land
  • Money

In terms of eyes, 'green' means:

  • Eyes with a solid color iris with a hue between yellow and blue

Definition of 'Hazel': What Does 'Hazel' Mean?

The same defines 'hazel' as a noun that means:

  • A member of the genus Corylus, especially the American C. americana and European C. avellana of shrubs or small trees in the birch family that bear nuts encased in a leafy involucre

It can also mean:

  • A light brown to bright yellowish-brown color

Hazel' can also be an adjective that means:

  • Containing hazels or the wood of the hazel

In terms of eyes, 'hazel' means:

  • Eyes containing the color hazel or a variable color that ranges from light greenish-gray to dark brown

Pronunciation: How to Pronounce 'Green' vs. 'Hazel'

Now let's look at the pronunciation of 'green' vs. 'hazel' eyes.

You can use this pronunciation guide you can use to pronounce 'green,' 'hazel,' and 'eyes':

  • Use this phonetic spelling to pronounce 'green':


  • Use this phonetic spelling to pronounce 'hazel':


  • Use this phonetic spelling to pronounce 'eyes':


Sample Sentences Using 'Green' vs. 'Hazel' Eyes

Finally, here are some sample sentences using 'green' vs. 'hazel' eyes. Read them to see these terms used in a variety of ways.

Green Eyes

  • The adorable puppy had black, brown, and white spots and green eyes.
  • Her green eyes were a piercing emerald color that reflected light and looked like they were glowing.
  • I want a kitten with gray fur and bright green eyes.
  • His green eyes were so bright they looked neon.
  • Green eyes are brought out by colors like purple and red.

Hazel Eyes

  • People say that hazel eyes do not change color unless light conditions change. However, my hazel eyes appear more green when I am happy or in a good mood.
  • I like to wear purple and gold eye shadow because it makes my hazel eyes appear more vibrant.
  • If you have hazel eyes, you know that often people mistake them for brown.
  • I prefer brown and hazel eyes to blue or green.
  • I always thought he had brown eyes, but the other day, I realized he had hazel eyes.

Green Eyes/ Hazel Eyes

  • Both of my parents have green eyes, but I ended up having hazel eyes.
  • Green eyes are typically lighter than hazel eyes, which are often confused with brown.
  • Our dog had puppies last year. Half were born with bright green eyes, and the other half had hazel eyes.

Review of the Difference Between 'Green' vs. 'Hazel' Eyes

You should be an expert on 'green' vs. 'hazel' eyes after reading this entire post, but here is a quick recap of what you learned: 

  • 'Green' eyes have solid-colored irises that fall between the range of yellow and blue. 
  • 'Hazel' eyes fade from one color to another, typically from brown to green, and appear to change color in a different light. 

If you are interested in learning about other terms like these that are often misused and mixed up, we have hundreds of guides like this in the confusing words section here.

Each lesson contains definitions, pronunciations, usage tips, and examples. So, whether you are learning English as a second language or a native speaker, they are an excellent way to improve your writing skills while learning how to properly use terms and expanding your vocabulary.

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Written By:
Amy Gilmore
Amy Gilmore is one of the lead freelance writers for WritingTips.org. She has been a professional writer and editor for the past eight years. She developed a love of language arts and literature in school and decided to become a professional freelance writer after a demanding career in real estate. Amy is constantly learning to become a better writer and loves sharing tips with other writers who want to do the same.

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