Colour Vocabulary

Colour Terms

This list contains 168 definitions of obscure colour terms using combinations of ‘normal’ colours of the rainbow and descriptive adjectives; e.g. cardinal = deep scarlet red; russet = reddish brown. Don’t worry if the colours (or colors) in your universe don’t match up with the definitions given here for these words, though – the author has been known to have skewed perceptions of reality…

Word Definition
aeneous shining bronze colour
albicant whitish; becoming white
albugineous like the white of an eye or an egg; white-coloured
amaranthine immortal; undying; deep purple-red colour
argent the heraldic colour silver or white
atrous jet black
aubergine eggplant; a dark purple colour
aurulent gold-coloured
azuline blue
azure light or sky blue; the heraldic colour blue
badious chestnut-coloured
beige light creamy white-brown
brunneous dark brown
burnet dark brown; dark woollen cloth
caesious bluish or greyish green
cardinal deep scarlet red colour
castaneous chestnut-coloured
castory brown colour; brown dye derived from beaver pelts
celadon pale green; pale green glazed pottery
celeste sky blue
cerulean sky-blue; dark blue; sea-green
cesious bluish-grey
chartreuse yellow-green colour
chlorochrous green-coloured
chrysochlorous greenish-gold
cinerious ashen; ash-grey
cinnabar red crystalline mercuric sulfide pigment; deep red or scarlet colour
citreous lemon-coloured; lemony
citrine dark greenish-yellow
claret dark red-purple colour; a dark-red wine
coccineous bright red
columbine of or like a dove; dove-coloured
coquelicot brilliant red; poppy red
corbeau blackish green
cramoisy crimson
cretaceous of or resembling chalk; of a whitish colour
croceate saffron-coloured
cyaneous sky blue
eau-de-nil pale green colour
eburnean of or like ivory; ivory-coloured
erythraean reddish colour
ferruginous of the colour of rust; impregnated with iron
filemot dead-leaf colour; dull brown
flammeous flame-coloured
flavescent yellowish or turning yellow
fuliginous sooty; dusky; soot-coloured; of or pertaining to soot
fulvous dull yellow; tawny
fuscous brown; tawny; dingy
gamboge reddish-yellow colour
glaucous sea-green; greyish-blue
goldenrod dark golden yellow
greige of a grey-beige colour
gridelin violet-grey
griseous pearl-grey or blue-grey; grizzled
haematic blood-coloured
heliotrope purplish hue; purplish-flowered plant; ancient sundial; signalling mirror
hoary pale silver-grey colour; grey with age
hyacinthine of a blue or purple colour
ianthine violet-coloured
ibis large stork-like bird; a pale apricot colour
icterine yellowish or marked with yellow
icteritious jaundiced; yellow
incarnadine carnation-coloured; blood-red
indigo deep blue-violet colour; a blue-violet dye
infuscate clouded or tinged with brown; obscured; cloudy brown colour
isabelline greyish yellow
jacinthe orange colour
jessamy yellow like a jasmine
kermes brilliant red colour; a red dye derived from insects
khaki light brown or tan
lateritious brick-red
leucochroic white or pale-coloured
liard grey; dapple-grey
lovat grey-green; blue-green
lurid red-yellow; yellow-brown
luteolous yellowish
luteous golden-yellow
lutescent yellowish
madder red dye made from brazil wood; a reddish or red-orange colour
magenta reddish purple
maroon brownish crimson
mauve light bluish purple
mazarine rich blue or reddish-blue colour
melanic black; very dark
melichrous having a honey-like colour
meline canary-yellow
miniaceous colour of reddish lead
minium vermilion; red lead
modena crimson
morel dark-coloured horse; blackish colour
nacarat bright orange-red
nankeen buff-coloured; durable buff-coloured cotton
nigricant of a blackish colour
nigrine black
niveous snowy; white
ochre yellowish or yellow-brown colour
ochroleucous yellowish white
olivaceous olive-coloured
or heraldic colour gold or yellow
pavonated peacock-blue
periwinkle a bluish or azure colour; a plant with bluish flowers
perse dark blue or bluish-grey; cloth of such a colour
phoeniceous bright scarlet-red colour
piceous like pitch; inflammable; reddish black
plumbeous leaden; lead-coloured
ponceau poppy red
porphyrous purple
porraceous leek-green
prasinous leek-green colour
primrose pale yellow
puccoon blood-root; dark red colour
puce brownish-purple; purplish-pink
puniceous bright or purplish red
purpure heraldic colour purple
purpureal purple
pyrrhous reddish; ruddy
rhodopsin visual purple
rubiginous rusty-coloured
rubious ruby red; rusty
rufous reddish or brownish-red
russet reddish brown
sable black; dark; of a black colour in heraldry
saffron orange-yellow
sage grey-green colour
sanguineous bloody; of, like or pertaining to blood; blood-red
sapphire deep pure blue
sarcoline flesh-coloured
sepia fine brown
sinopia preparatory drawing for a fresco; reddish-brown colour
slate dull dark blue-grey
smalt deep blue
smaragdine emerald green
solferino purplish red
sorrel reddish-brown; light chestnut
spadiceous chestnut-coloured
stammel coarse woollen fabric, usually dyed red; bright red colour
stramineous strawy; light; worthless; straw-coloured
suede light beige
sulphureous bright yellow
tan tawny brown
taupe brownish-grey
tawny brownish-yellow
teal greenish-blue
terracotta reddish-brown
testaceous of or having a hard shell; brick-red
tilleul pale yellowish-green
titian red-gold or reddish-brown
topaz dark yellow
turquoise blue-green
ultramarine deep blue
umber brownish red
vermeil bright red or vermilion colour; gilded silver
vermilion bright red
vinaceous wine-coloured
vinous deep red; burgundy
violaceous violet-coloured
violet bluish purple
virescent becoming green or greenish; of a greenish colour
virid green
viridian chrome green
vitellary bright yellow
wallflower yellowish-red
watchet pale blue
wheaten the golden colour of ripe wheat
whey off-white
willowish of the colour of willow leaves
xanthic yellow; yellowish
zinnober chrome green

All material on this page © 2007 Stephen Chrisomalis.

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