Multicolored and Multilingual

When we talk of colors, we can’t help but be multilingual. Our world tour of exotic color names continues on through Italy, England, Greece, and Iran. Let’s take a pictorial tour of these colorful cultures, in search of an exotic blue metamorphic rock that yields a bright pigment when crushed.


by Brian J. Geiger.

Magenta is named in honor of the town in northern Italy where the bloodlike purplish red dye was discovered.



by ho visto nina volare.

Siena is named in honor of the city in Tuscany where a school of art flourished in the 13th and 14th centuries. Burnt siena is a deep reddish-brown pigment.

Egia siena


by cbmd.

Scarlet is a Middle English word originally meaning any brightly colored fabric. Today it exclusively refers to brilliant red.

Scarlett O'Hara


by Anyhoo.

Ochre derives from the Greek word for “yellow.” Today, this earthy pigment refers to a pale brownish-yellow. Burnt ochre is a dark yellow-brown.

Light Ochre


by anticline.

Ultramarine is of medieval Latin origin, meaning “beyond the sea.” The word refers to the exotic origin of lapis lazuli, the source of a deep blue pigment.



by Hamed Saber.

Azure derives from the Persian word for lapis lazuli, “lazward.” Azure is a bright blue.



Craig ConleyAbout the Guest Author, Craig Conley
Craig is an independent scholar and author of dozens of strange and unusual books, including a unicorn field guide and a dictionary of magic words. He also loves color: Prof. Oddfellow

Author: Prof. Oddfellow