Posted by: Jack Henry | July 5, 2022

Editor’s Corner: More Fancy Color Names

Hello there, readers!

The other day I went to the art store to buy some handmade paper, and of course the minute I walked in I was blown away by all of the displays of paints, colored pens, and potential art projects just waiting for me to spend my paycheck on them. Luckily, I only left $80 poorer, but that was due to a strict 30-minute parking pass. Today I received a quiz about colors from, and I failed miserably. I won’t torture you with the quiz, but I’ll provide you with the information. Let’s see if you are more familiar with these colors than I was! (The definitions are from Merriam-Webster.)

annatto:a moderate yellowish pink that is yellower and less strong than coral pink and duller and slightly yellower than peach pink. [KC – The plant on the left is
the base of most annatto coloring and doesn’t look yellowish pink to me. Seed extracts of this natural food coloring are on the right.]

cerulean: somewhat resembling the blue of the sky

gamboge: an orange to brown gum resin that becomes bright yellow when powdered, is obtained from various southeast Asian trees of the genus Garcinia (as G. hanburyi), and is used by artists as a yellow pigment and in medicine as a cathartic [KC – Below, gamboge fruit and gamboge powder.]

greige (also grège, if you’re French): 1: being in an unbleached undyed state as taken from a loom —used of textiles greige cloth. 2: of a color that blends gray and beige

heliotrope: 1a: a variable color averaging a moderate purple that is bluer, lighter, and stronger than cobalt violet, manganese violet, or average amethyst, bluer and deeper than average lilac, and redder, stronger, and slightly lighter than mignon [KC – Um, cobalt and manganese violet? Are we blowing up a chemistry lab? And mignon? Isn’t that Grammar Girl’s real name? On the left, heliotrope. On the
right, a mignon-colored flower.]

1b: a moderate reddish purple that is redder and duller than bishop’s violet [KC – Bishop’s violet (mitre)]

ponceau: a strong red to reddish orange; the French word for poppy-colored.

smaragdine:of or relating to emerald: yellowish green in color like an emerald [KC – Emeralds in the raw, and an emerald being shaped for jewelry.]

Tyrian purple:a crimson or purple dye of the indigo class used by the ancient Greeks and Romans and prepared from the adrectal glands of gastropod mollusks (as of the genus Thais) or made synthetically [KC – Tyrian purple yarn.]

2: a strong to vivid purplish red that is redder and darker than Tyrian pink [Tyrian pink color sample.]

ultramarine: a costly pure blue pigment formerly prepared by powdering lapis lazuli [KC – Lapis on the left, pigment on the right.]

wheaten: related to wheat, wheat grain; any color ranging from pale beige to shimmering gold. [KC – Wheaten paint on the left, soft-coated wheaten terriers on the right.]

I hope you learned something new! Now you can entertain party guests with these glamorized color descriptions (and I can understand what my mom and brother are talking about when they are painting)!

Kara Church

Pronouns: she/her

Technical Editor, Advisory

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