Multicolored, Multilingual II

Multicolored, Multilingual II

When we talk of colors, we can't help but be multilingual. Our pictorial world tour of exotic color names continues on through Italy, France, and Greece. For previous multilingual colors, see Multicolored, Multilingual Part I.


img Flower (top) by atomicshark. Amethyst (above) by Starfires.

Amethyst. The opposite of "chartreuse" (the name of a pale green liqueur), "amethyst" means "not drunken" in its original Greek. The violet/purple quartz stone was so-named because it was popularly believed to prevent inebriation.



img by hartlandmartin.

Verdigris. The name of this bright blue-green colour is derived from an Old French phrase meaning "green of Greece." It refers to the patina on copper, bronze and brass. In the musical "Wicked," verdigris is the color of the Wicked Witch Elphaba.



img by modean987.

Vermillion. The name of this bright red pigment is derived from the Latin word for "worm." Vermillion is naturally produced from Chinese cinnabar.



img by Jesse Gardner.

Cerulean. The name of this deep blue sky colour is derived from a Latin word meaning "heavens."



img by Kelly Sue.

Ecru. The name of this light gray-yellow colour comes from a French word meaning "raw, unbleached." Once considered a synonym for beige, ecru is now regarded as a separate colour.



img by key-bee.

Carnelian. This orange-red-brown colour is named for the reddish semiprecious mineral chalcedony. The word is derived from a Latin root meaning a flesh-coloured horn. The color is famous as the official shade of Campbell's Soup cans.



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

Related Articles

Showing 1 - 7 of 7 Comments
This seems like a good place to post this Elizabethan color list that has been floating around:

Bristol red - a "pleasant" red
Cane Color - yellowish tint
Carnation - a color resembling raw flesh
Crane - grayish white
Dead Spaniard - pale grayish tan
Gingerline - reddish violet
Goose-turd - yellowish green
Hair - bright tan
Incarnate - red
Isabel - light buff
Lincoln green - bright green
Lustie-gallant - light red
Maidenhair - bright tan
Milk-and-water - bluish white
Murrey - purplish red
Orange tawney - orangish brown
Peach - deep pinkish orange
Plunket - light blue
Popinjay - bluish green
Primrose - pale yellow
Puke - dirty brown
Rat - dull grey
Sad - any dark color
Sangyn - blood red
Sheep - natural
Strammel - red
Straw - light yellow
Tawney - brown tinged with yellow
Wachet - pale greenish blue
Whey - pale whitish blue
Willow - light green
Great job! I love color history!
Interesting post Craig.
In French verdigris means also green of grey . May be this color name was also done because it transformation of initial color of bronze.
Awesome! History, etymology, and colour all in one! :D
Very interesting article! Thank you for this!
Very interesting. Thanks for that.
Hey, I'm tagged! Though my Carnelian's a bit dark... ah well, thanks for the mention!

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Terms Updated

We’d like to inform you that we have updated our Terms of Use. The most substantive changes are:

This platform was acquired by a joint venture in Israel.
changes have been made to the relevant jurisdiction for disputes which may arise out of your use of the platform.
Changes made to the monetization of users’ creations and the ability to opt out from your account settings.

Please view the revised Terms here. If you don’t mind anything there, then you don’t need to do anything. Your continued use of the platform will constitute your acceptance of the latest version of the Terms. If you disagree with anything there, you can terminate your account within seven days from today.