It's not just a problem for etymologists: Searching for the origination of a term has been plaguing our live sound engineers. What is a green room? A bit of Internet research found that there are numerous explanations of what a green room is; here are a few of our favorites.
Scholarly journal DeProverbio.com posits that, “The green room took its name from the fact that its walls were often painted green to rest the eyes of actors after exposure to bright stage lights.” World Wide Words suggests that the stage itself was called “the green,” making the green room a room adjacent to the stage. FAQs.org lists numerous reasons, including “because the plays originally took place outside on the village green,” and, “It was where the shrubbery used onstage was stored and the plants made it a cool, comfortable place.”
Whatever the origin, the green room has become a relaxing place for engineers to chill out after soundcheck and rest before the gig. Got a theory on the term's origin? E-mail it to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll post all explanations online — humorous or otherwise.