View Full Version : Where do Colour names come from?

03-22-2000, 05:03 PM
Ok, I did get this topic from 'The Colour Green' topic but I thought that it would make an interesting subject. If you know where some of the more interesting or obscure colour names originated, I thought it would be interesting to find out. List the ones you know in the posts below (for example - Prussian Blue, Monestrial Blue, Alizarin Green etc...

Drew Davis
03-22-2000, 06:18 PM
Prussian blue is named after its original place of manufacture (Berlin, in Prussia, in the 1700s). Alizarin is borrowed through French and probably Spanish from Arabic, where it means "the juice" (of the madder root, the original source of the color, as also mentioned in "rose madder"). I'm not familiar with Monestrial blue.

Siennas and Umbers are also named after their place of origin (regions of Italy, where you can mine dirt of the appropriate "earth" tones).

A "pigment" is a colored substance that remains solid when dispersed in a vehicle. A "dye", on the other hand, actually dissolves in the vehicle, and also can stain the surface. A "lake" is a color made by taking a colorless pigment, and staining it with a dye, in an attempt to get the nice color of the dye with some of the permanance of a pigment. Hence "scarlet lake" or "crimson lake".