Why so many English color words?

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by Dinosaur, Oct 17, 2011.

  1. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Green is cognate with "grow," meaning "the color of plants." Purple is derived from porphyry, a purple stone.
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  3. scheherazade Northern Horse Whisperer Valued Senior Member

    Perhaps one reason that English has, or seemingly has more words for color is that it is a language that is comprised of words of diverse origin, incorporating words from many other languages, including German, Dutch, French, Latin and Greek.

    Some Latin words of color and their English translation.

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  5. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    You will have to explain this one, I have never heard of this before.
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  7. Gustav Banned Banned


    an opportunity for entrepreneurs to peddle their wares

    “Blues will continue to grow in popularity, but will be richer and more jewel-like,” says Jon Hall, manager of color development for BASF’s Automotive Coatings business in North America. “Reds, which have bottomed out in popularity, will enjoy a modest revival, but in bluer and deeper shades. Today’s popular browns will shift toward orange hues and shades. We also foresee the emergence of dark, mysterious colors—dark blue, reds, coppers and grays.”


    The first recorded use of antique fuchsia as a color name in English was in 1928.

    The source of this color is the Plochere Color System, a color system formulated in 1948 that is widely used by interior designers.


    Before printer's magenta was invented in the 1890s for CMYK printing, and electric magenta was invented in the 1980s for computer displays, these two artificially engineered colors were preceded by the color displayed at right, which is the color originally called magenta made from coal tar dyes in the year 1859.[2] Besides being called original magenta, magenta dye color is also called rich magenta to distinguish it from the colors printer's magenta and electric magenta, shown below.

    Magenta was one of the first aniline dyes, discovered shortly after the Battle of Magenta (1859), which occurred near the town of Magenta in northern Italy. The color was originally called fuchsine or roseine, but for marketing purposes in 1860 the color name was changed to magenta after the battle. Hence, the color is named indirectly after the town

    Variations of magenta
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2011
  8. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    That's right. Colors are big business!

    I remember buying a nice shirt at a discount price, because it was, as the clerk said, "Last season's color."
    To me, it was just a different hue of purple than fashionable that year.

    Similar goes for colors of cars and many other consumer items.

    The drive behind it all could be yet another attempt to accelerate sells, by imposing otherwise irrelevant criteria for quality.
    Ie. in the West, we are trying to sell stuff at any cost.
  9. scheherazade Northern Horse Whisperer Valued Senior Member

    The following survey done by zAutos on Oct. 6, 2011.

  10. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

    Leather is brown. Bruun and Braun are very similar. I wondered if that was the connection.
    Perhaps someone with a German dictionary with etymologies could look Bruun up.
  11. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    Duden Deutsches Universalwörterbuch doesn't have that word.
    And it doesn't look German to me at all.
  12. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Indeed. German has words with double A and double E, and a few names have double O, but are there any with double I or double U???
  13. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    There are words like Armeeeinheit, Hawaiiinseln, Kaffeeernte, Kleeernte, Schneeeule, Seeelefant, Zooorchester where there are three same vowels, and there are regularly words with three same consonants - Schifffahrt, Flussschifffahrt, Nussstrudel.
    (Although such words when with three vowels can also be spelled as Armee-Einheit, Hawaii-Inseln etc.)
    Then there are words like Trauung - but like the above, this is due to word-formation and orthography principles.

    So it is certainly possible that there be -uu- in a word, but I am not aware of any root with -uu- or -ii-.
  14. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

    Is it there with the spelling Brun?
    Maybe I have got the spelling wrong.

    The name Brunhild is supposed to derive from it

    A similar sounding name is De Bruin, which comes from the Dutch for Bear.
    De Bruin Surname
    The surname of DEBRUIN is connected with the Dutch word 'BRUIN' - meaning bear. One with a dark or brown complexion.

    To bring it all round in a neat circle. Bearskins were used by the ancient Norse as armour, and is the origin of the word beserk.
    When we say that we are going berserk, most of us don't realize how extreme a state this might be. The adjective comes from the noun berserker, or berserk, which is from the Old Norse word berserkr, “a wild warrior or champion”. Such warriors wore hides of bears, which explains the probable origin of berserkr as a compound of bera, “bear” and serkr, “shirt, coat”. These berserkers became frenzied in battle, howling like animals, foaming at the mouth, and biting the edges of their iron shields.
    A wild Norse warrior of great strength and ferocious courage, who fought on the battle-field with a frenzied fury known as the berserker rage; often with a lawless, bravo attitude. Also a reference to someone who is frenzied, furiously, or madly violent, or who goes berserk. Berserker was first recorded in English in the early 19th century, long after these wild warriors ceased to exist.

    Last edited: Oct 21, 2011
  15. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    I wouldn't count a word that's built on a foreign name!
    We can look forward to a lot more words with three S's, now that Switzerland has abolished the eszett (ß) and replaced it with SS. Germany will be the last country to make that change and it may take two hundred years, but they will probably do it.
    Silly me, I should have remembered the gerund. Any verb whose root ends in -au is going to have a gerund with a double U!
    Long A, E and O are usually spelled AH, EH and OH, but there are exceptions in which they're spelled AA, EE and OO. I have no idea why this is, more than a century after German orthography was "standardized." But I have never seen a word or name with a double I or U, which seem to always be spelled IE and UH, except for a few names with IH.
  16. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    There is the word die Brünne
    mhd. brünne, ahd. brunna, aus dem Keltischen
    'Teil der mittelalterlichen Ritterausrüstung aus Kettengefecht zum Schutz von Nacken und Hals'
    (Duden Universalwörterbuch)

    According to Wiki, there is quite a bit of unclarity as to what kind of armor exactly a Brünne was.

    As for the etymological meaning of the word, Wiki has:

    The Duden maintains the word is of Celtic origin, to mean 'body.'
  17. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

    I think the answer to my question so far, is that Brunne for armour may be connected to various words for Bear and Brown, but may not be.
  18. Lawsinium Registered Senior Member

    there are nth numbers of colours. It is a never ending and would not stop forever.

    where is the solution?

    You got already the solution: R/Y = O; O/G = Y ...and so forth and so on.....

    Now Human's brain can only hold a certian amount of information 'coz of this nobody can completely memorize the strings of numbers on a Pi (3.1416 ..... This is the same with the Nth colours.

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