Fascinating words for colors

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Colors are such fundamental, tangible things that it’s hard to imagine not having names for them, but the number of words for colors varies widely by language and for many, many years, English got by without a lot of the color names we take for granted today.

In nearly all languages, the first colors to get names are black and white. 

Black

“Black” comes from very old words that meant “to burn” or “burned.” But the same old words also gave us “blake,” which is a now obscure word that meant pale, pallid, and ashen.

In fact, the Oxford English Dictionary says that it is often difficult to tell which of these two colors is meant in Old English texts when the context doesn’t make it clear.

And to make it even more complicated, at some point, “black” could also be used to describe something bright, shining, or glittering, perhaps related to the idea that something that is burning is all those things. So it took “black” a while to be limited to what we think of as black today.

White

“White” is a little more straightforward. In Old English, it meant “bright and radiant, or clear and fair.

” It could be describing something we think of as white such as snow, milk, or an old person’s hair, but it could also describe something transparent, or something light yellow, pale gray, or silver.

Online Etymology Dictionary says “White” is also one of the oldest surnames in English, originally referring to people with fair hair or a fair complexion.

There are still languages today that have just two words for colors that are essentially white for all light or warm colors and black for all dark or cool colors. 

Red

That surprised me, but one thing that surprised me most was that the next color almost all languages name is red—one theory is that it’s because it is the color of blood. 

50 Beautiful Color Combinations (And How to Apply Them to Your Designs)

  • One of the keys to making your design come alive is choosing just the right color combination.
  • Whether you're attempting to evoke the feelings associated with a breathtaking landscape, a romantic sunset or a dynamic scene bursting with color, it takes a trained eye to bring together the perfect hues to drive your message home.
  • To save you some time and effort in your search for the ideal color combination, we've created a list of beautiful color schemes you can use in any of your projects.
  • These color presets are already available for you within Visme, so you can easily apply them to any of your own designs by simply clicking on the color combination of your choice, as seen below.

Apply any of these beautiful color presets to your design.Try It for Free

Now that you've seen how simple it is to apply your own color schemes right within Visme, here are 50 unique and dazzling color combinations our design team created just for you.

1 Blue Sunset

A mix of vivid yellows and oranges with a dark moderate blue and a strong orange make this an attractive combination for just about any design that needs to send a message of energy and vitality.

2 Classic and Retro

This combination of mostly dark colors–from a dark grayish cyan and a dark moderate red to a dark orange–make this combination ideal for a subdued look. For simpler designs, you can also choose to use only the top three colors.

3 Shimmering Blues and Greens

Here we have a mix of strong and vivid blues with a soft yellow and desaturated dark orange, which is ideal if you're going for something a bit more exciting and dynamic than the typical blues and browns.

4 Sunset Over a Swamp

This mix of a desaturated dark blue with a soft yellow and bright orange and red make this a colorful combination suitable for lighthearted, youthful themes.

5 Mediterranean Blues

This perfect combination of a grayish blue with a desaturated dark blue and a range of browns evoke the feelings associated with this magical and mysterious Mediterranean setting. It is ideal for designs related to travel or nature.

6 Exotic Orchids

Here we have a range of blues complemented by a dark cyan and vivid orange–perfect for a colorful, vibrant design. You can also pick and choose the colors that most suit your design, such as the top dark blues and the orange as an accent color.

7 Sophisticated and Calm

This color combination is versatile enough to be used in a variety of design projects, from those with a sophisticated and upscale look to those with a calm and comfortable feel.

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8 Magentas and Yellows

A range of magentas combined with a vivid yellow and olive tone make this a refreshing and unconventional palette.

9 Blue Mountain Peaks and Clouds

This range of blues combined with a dark yellow and light grayish pink make this a versatile color scheme perfect for professional and conservative designs.

10 Orange Sunset

A dark pink and a dark desaturated violet are combined here with a soft red and a soft orange to create a vibrant and colorful palette that can be used in a variety of designs to communicate energy and warmth.

11 Vintage 1950s

For a classic, retro look that elicits a bit of nostalgia, here's a unique combination of a slightly desaturated blue and orange, at the top and bottom, and a strong cyan and soft yellow.

12 Vivid and Retro

This original mix of red, pink and a vivid orange make this a versatile and eye-catching palette, which can be used in a variety of ways by, for example, applying the first three colors or, alternatively, the bottom three in a design.

13 Ornamental Reds and Yellows

This palette is made up of very dark reds and a range of yellows and oranges. Choose any of these colors to give your design a bold look.

14 Turquoise and Red

This colorful image of ripe fruit gives rise to this unique combination of blues, cyans and red. If you decide to mix and match two or three colors at a time, you can create a range of palettes for your designs, from professional ones with cool colors to more upbeat, energetic ones.

15 Blue Sundew

This image of a carnivorous plant gives rise to a range of blues complemented by a dark red and brown tone.

16 Classic 70s

If you're looking for something reminiscent of the 70s, you can create a variety of color schemes with this image of a Volkswagen camper cruising through the beach.

17 Gothic Architecture

This image of a cathedral in Normandy has inspired this scheme appropriate for a design that is cool, controlled and professional.

18 Fiery Red Landscape

This icy Swiss mountain surrounded by clouds produces this color scheme, which includes black and a range of reds.

19 Urban Skyline

If you're looking for a modern-looking, dynamic color scheme, this palette inspired by this image of a cityscape provides a unique group of colors to choose from.

20 Natural Elegance

This beautiful portrait of a bride inspires this harmonious palette, which can be used in a wide range of designs to communicate professionalism and conservatism or sophistication and natural elegance.

21 Summer Blueberries

A range of violets and a strong pink and yellow come together in this palette, bursting with colors evocative of the Spring and Summer seasons.

22 On the Dock of the Bay

These maritime colors are ideal for evoking the coolness and tranquility of an afternoon sitting on the dock of the bay, “watching the tide roll away.”

23 Earthy Greens

These olive and brown tones are great for themes related to sustainability, nature and earthiness.

24 Old Car and Blue Jeans

Here is another unique combination comprised of dark blue and dark green with a soft yellow and desaturated dark red.

25 Berries Galore

These luscious multi-berry colors can be used all at once or, depending on your project, two or three at a time. For example, you can go for a monochromatic effect with just the first three.

26 Refreshing and Invigorating

This breathtaking image of a stone arch in a national park inspired this cheerful and fun color scheme, which is sure to add a sizable dose of life and vitality to your design.

27 Serene and Relaxing

This soothing color palette brings to mind a relaxing walk alongside a beach shore, with the wind running through your hair. Its range of greens with gray undertones makes this a perfect scheme for a variety of projects.

28 Aqua Greens

This range of cyans and lime greens brings to mind anything related to submarines, boats, underwater diving and ships.

29 Summer Vacation

This mix of blues, combined with a beige and brown tone, elicit emotions related to a fun summer day in the sun.

30 Twilight Moon

Looking for a Halloween theme? This range of oranges and black is perfect for any Fall or Halloween-related design.

31 Swiss Meadows

The dark blue combined with the gold and bronze in this combination are often seen in the official colors of school teams. The pink, however, adds a unique and colorful touch that can be used to make your design stand out.

32 Tropical Wildlife

If you're looking to add a burst of energy to your design, you can apply all the colors in this scheme or just two or three colors at a time (such as the top or bottom three colors).

33 Child's Play

This cheerful yet stylish combination brings together these colors: dark blue, moderate red, bright orange and a grayish orange.

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34 Sunset in Hamburg

This image of a mesmerizing sunset in Hamburg brings to mind these warm colors, ranging from a dark red and moderate orange to a grayish blue and grayish orange.

35 Lemon in Water

This mixture of soft yellow and olive with black and grayish violet make for a bold and eye-catching design.

36 Inspirational and Romantic

This beautiful picture of a breathtaking sunset inspired this palette comprised of dark pinks, violets and reds.

37 Riverside London

Although this color palette is technically made up of a browns, oranges and a grayish red, it can be used as a monochromatic scheme in any of your designs.

38 Black and Bright Orange

A range of oranges, black and a dark grayish lime green are combined in this high-contrast scheme.

39 Indian Fields

This exotic image inspired this colorful scheme comprised of a range of greens and bright red colors.

40 Jazz Night

Choose two or three of these colors to add character to your design. You can use either the top two combined with the light grayish yellow or the bottom three together.

41 Bright and Energetic

If you're looking to communicate energy and approachability, this bright color scheme will do the trick. The cooler colors on top are perfectly complemented by the soft reds at the bottom.

42 Earthy and Natural

This mix of leafy greens and browns is ideal for any design related to the environment, sustainability, nature or wildlife.

43 Czech Architecture

This unique palette is reminiscent of the colorful facades of houses seen across Europe. You can use all of these colors at a time or stick to two or three for each individual project.

44 Blue Accent

If you're looking for a design that is sure to catch someone's eye, go for this range of grays complemented by a perfect soft blue accent.

45 Kaleidoscope Illusions

Lime greens combined with brown and peach result in this palette, which can be dissected to create several other combinations with two or three colors.

46 Winter Barn

Make your design pop with this unique color scheme, comprised of a range of cool blues and a distinctive dark red.

47 Bright and Fruity

A selection of cool and warm colors come together in this cheerful combination, suitable for designs related to food, diet and nutrition.

48 Purple Garlic

In this scheme, strong reds are complemented by a light grayish magenta and dark red with gray undertones.

49 The Colors of Nature

A range of blues and browns make this an attractive color scheme for themes striving to communicate permanence, transparency and dependability.

50 Oriental Opulence

A light violet, blue and orange with gray undertones is combined here with a dark blue and strong orange to add color and vitality to the scheme.

Try These Color Combinations In Your Next Design

Ready to get started using one of these color combinations in your next design? Sign up for your own Visme account and input the hex codes right inside the color picker!

general words used to describe colors – synonyms and related words

adjective

literary bright and full of light or color

phrase

a lot of different bright colors together

adjective

made very pale by chemicals or strong sunlight

adjective

very bright, clear, or strong in color and therefore easy to notice

adjective

big, bright, or colorful in a way that is not attractive

adjective

bright colors are strong but not dark

adverb

with strong, but not dark, colors

adjective

too colorful and in poor taste

adjective

cold colors are colors such as white, blue, and gray that make you think of things that are cold

adjective

red, green, blue, etc. rather than transparent or black or white

adjective

something that is colorful has bright colors or a lot of different colors

adjective

something that is colorless has no color

the British spelling of colored

the British spelling of colorful

adjective

cool colors, such as white and blue, give an idea of cold instead of heat

adjective

strong and not pale in color

adjective

a deep color is dark and strong

adjective

a delicate taste, smell, or color is pleasant and not too strong

adverb

in a way that is pleasant and not too strong in flavor, smell, or color

adjective

something that is discolored has changed in color and no longer looks new, clean, or healthy

adjective

used for describing a color that is not bright because it has some gray in it

adjective

colors that are fast will not become paler when clothes are washed

adjective

bright and colorful in a way that makes you think of a celebration

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adjective

mainly literary very bright in color, especially bright red, orange, or yellow

adjective

a fluorescent color is very bright and seems to reflect light

adjective

used about colors

adjective

old-fashioned brightly-colored or attractive

adjective

harmonious colors or parts combine well with each other

adjective

harsh colors or lights are not pleasant because they are very bright

adjective

used for saying what color decorations, clothes, etc. are

adjective

informal bright, colorful, and attractive

adjective

pale in color, not dark

adjective

very bright in a way that does not show good taste

adjective

with the same color, pattern, or design

adjective

neither light nor dark in color

adjective

soft and warm in color

adjective

able to show or produce only black, white, and gray

adjective

a monotone color is all the same shade of that color

adjective

not as bright or colorful as usual

adjective

neutral colors are not very strong or bright

adjective

something that is opalescent seems always to be changing color slightly

phrase

something that is pale blue/gray/pink, etc. is a lighter type of blue/gray/pink, etc. than usual

adjective

a pure sound, color, light, etc. is very clear and beautiful

adjective

not too bright in color, or not decorated too much

adjective

a rich color, sound, or smell is strong in a pleasant way

adjective

sepia photographs are old and are a red-brown color

adjective

a sickly color is so pale that is looks unpleasant

adjective

plain and not brightly colored

the British spelling of somber

adjective

Americaninformal brightly colored

adjective

something that is tinged with a color, feeling, or quality contains a small amount of it

adjective

relating to the tone of something, especially a color or sound

adjective

a translucent color is very pale or light

adjective

informal old-fashioned two-tone shoes or clothes have two colors

adjective

bright and colorful

adjective

a violent color is very bright and almost painful to look at

adjective

a vivid color is strong and bright

adjective

warm colors have red, orange, or yellow in them. Colors with blue or green in them are called cool colors

adjective

washed-out clothes have lost a lot of their color because they have been washed so often

adjective

pale, or not strong

English version of thesaurus of general words used to describe colors

List of Words to Describe Colors

Most of life is full of color, from the great outdoors to commercial malls. When writing, it can be difficult to capture all the colors of the rainbow. From time to time, it's okay to pepper our writing with generic words like “bright” or “colorful.” But, what if we could do better?

What if we provided commentary on flaming leaves and monochromatic skies? Sounds a little more interesting, right? Read on to enjoy a list of words to describe colors. Let's see if any of them will pop up in your next piece of writing.

Descriptive words for color can evoke a positive feeling, a negative feeling, or simply express the facts. Certainly, when they have a positive connotation, they're going to express bright and cheery emotions. Let's take a look:

Not everything is for everyone. When we're met with something overly colorful or drab, we need to find the right words to convey that feeling. See if any of these words will work for your next writing piece:

  • Ashy – Having the color of ash; pale
  • Bleak – Gloomy; somber; not colorful
  • Blotchy – Discolored or patchy
  • Brash – Abrasive; tacky
  • Chintzy – Cheap-looking
  • Cold – Depressing; saddening
  • Colorless – Lacking color; dull
  • Dark – Lacking in light
  • Dim – Not bright
  • Discolored – Deprived of color; given the wrong color
  • Drab – A dull, yellowish-brown color
  • Harsh – Disagreeable; unpleasant
  • Loud – Overly intense
  • Muddy – Not clear
  • Opaque – Incapable of allowing light to pass through
  • Saturated – Overfly full
  • Showy – Gaudy; too flashy
  • Sickly – Having a pallor that reflects being nauseated
  • Somber – Dark; gloomy; dull
  • Sooty – Black or dusky in color
  • Splashy – Attracting too much attention
  • Stained – An unwanted spot
  • Uneven – Not smooth; irregular
  • Washed-out – Lacking color; faded
  • Watery – Containing too much water; diluted

Words that Express a Little Color

Sometimes, less is more. Things can be totally colorless, monochromatic, or full of muted tones. When that's the message you're trying to convey, see if any of these illustrators will do:

Paint Your Words with Color

Painters paint their canvas with paint brushes; writers paint their pages with pens and keyboards. The mediums are different but the embrace of expression is the same. Are you ready to take your musings on the world and translate them into a short story? Then, let's get creative. Here's how to write a short story.

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