Behind the Color Names

The etymologies of the colors and how they developed

Have you ever wondered how the colors got their names in English? What languages they came from? How they’ve changed throughout history?

The names of the colors come from a variety of languages, dead and present. However, due to English being a Germanic language, many English words have primarily Germanic roots. Still, English has origins in many languages, like Latin and Asiatic ones. It shows how English, like many other languages, has evolved throughout time.

Note that Old English was spoken and written from c. 450 CE to c. 1150, Middle English from c. 1150 to c. 1450, and Modern English from c. 1450 to now.

Black
White
Red
Orange
Yellow
Green
Blue
Purple

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