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What is the difference between "Gold" and "Golden" when used as an adjective?

For example, should I say, "Gold ring" or "Golden ring"? Is there any difference in the meaning?

Thanks in advance.
Full Member137
Adjective "gold" means "of gold" - the real deal. "Golden" means "having the appearance of gold." But "I'm putting a gold star on your homework paper" means "golden star."

But you really need to check the context. I'm sure the Golden Earrings in the song of the same name are the real deal. And probably golden things refered to in the bible are supposed to be of real gold. On the other hand, you can say "It has a gold/golden color," and neither adjective refers to real gold.
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AvangiAdjective "gold" means "of gold" - the real deal. "Golden" means "having the appearance of gold." But "I'm putting a gold star on your homework paper" means "golden star."

But you really need to check the context. I'm sure the Golden Earrings in the song of the same name are the real deal. And probably golden things refered to in the bible are supposed to be of real gold. On the other hand, you can say "It has a gold/golden color," and neither adjective refers to real gold.
Hi,

As Avangi said, we need to check the context. When I hear someone shows a direction and talks about 'the gold hotel,' I think about the color of gold - not the real deal. In this 'color' context, the tone is neutral (i.e. the gold color does not qualify either the beauty, the rating, or the quality of services).

Between the two terms, 'golden' carries a bright / happy / valuable / successful / precious connotation such as golden hair / age / opportunity / generation / child.

All the best,
Hoa Thai
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Thank you for the replies.

I am sure that I could figure out whether the real gold or just a gold color is being talked about, given the context Emotion: smile.

I was more interested in what word should be used. I see that there some instances where only "golden" can be used, as Hoa Thai pointed out.

But are there any instances when only "gold" should be used, or at least preferred?

And for other times, such as "gold/golden ring", are both words equally good?
Hi,
my dictionary says:

Golden: having a bright yellow color like gold.

Then there are other meanings, like "golden ages", etc., and then they also say:
Literary: made of gold.

I think those are the most common "modern" meanings. So golden should refer mainly to the color Emotion: smile
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Common collocations:


a gold watch, a gold ring, a gold disc, a gold bar, the gold standard, the Gold Rush, fool's gold, a gold medal, a gold mine, a goldfinch, a gold star, the Gold Coast, a gold card (credit card), etc.

golden oriole, golden retriever, golden words, the golden rule, the golden number, the golden section, the Golden Globe, the golden ratio, the Golden Age, etc.
There seems to be a metaphorical element in the second set.

MrP
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Again, thanks for the replies. I understand it a lot better now, and I guess "gold ring" is the way go Emotion: smile.
Anonymous:
Despite giving my two cents' worth rather late, perhaps my understanding of the difference between 'gold' and 'golden' is still of interest to you.  

I will approach this from a grammatical point of view.

"gold" is a noun, and "golden" is an adjective. 

When "gold" is placed before another noun, it functions as part of a compound noun.  Examples include: gold mine, gold ring, gold watch, etc.  Therefore, "gold" describes the TYPE of mine, ring and watch respectively. 

The word choice would have been between these words:

[gold, platinum, diamond, silver etc] mine/ring/watch

When "golden" is placed before a noun, it is an adjective which has a descriptive function.  Examples include: the golden calf, the golden era, the golden rule.  In these instances, "golden" is a DESCRIPTION of the look, color or quality of the specified noun. 

The word choice could have been:

[ornate, beautiful, memorable, etc] calf/era/rule

Therefore, the word choice depends on the function it needs to perform, as has been previously mentioned.
Anonymous:
As I was taught, it is about the morphology of adjectives. It can probably help you to find out sth about Inherent / noninherent adjectives.

Tomy.
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