8 Color Names To Take You Over the Rainbow

Wednesday, November 62 min read

Can you name even 50 shades from the millions that exist? The everyday English speaker bases color descriptions on 11 categories: yellow, green, blue, purple, pink, red, orange, brown, black, gray, and white. An object falls into one color category, or it becomes an amalgamation — reddish-yellow or red-orange — of two or more color categories. These common categories are the easiest way to communicate a description, especially when you throw in adjectives like "light" and "dark" to further specify a color’s shade.

With a full spectrum of colors out there, it’s high time we put face (color) to name. We’re going beyond turquoise, indigo, teal, magenta, and the like. Here are eight colors you’ve definitely seen, but never had a name for.


If you've spent some time watching the ducks in the park, you'll recognize this rich, bottle-green color. The name refers to a male mallard, also called a drake. The shade was first replicated as a dye in the early 18th century.

Drunk-Tank Pink

Turns out, this particular shade of pink has been proven to reduce hostile, violent, and aggressive behavior, making it the perfect shade to paint holding cells. The official name of this color is Baker-Miller Pink, after the directors at the Naval Correctional Facility where research concerning this color was done.


Instead of painting your walls ivory, off-white, eggshell, pearl, or beige, try eburnean. This yellowish-white has a Latin name that simply means "made of or relating to ivory."


Falu is a shade of dye often used in deep-red paint. Think of the quintessential red barn door. Historically, the pigment was originally found in the mines of Falun, Sweden, which is presumably where it got its name.


This pigment covers a range of yellow from deep saffron to mustard yellow. The easiest reference is to picture the robes of Buddhist monks. The natural dye is sourced from the gum resin of various Southeast Asian trees.

Gooseturd Green

Yes, this was a real color name coined during the Elizabethan era. Like Drake’s-Neck, this color is bird-inspired, and is a deeper reflection of a bird’s anatomy. This bright, light green color was specifically used in fashion as part of sensational marketing tactics, in an effort to attract customers.


When something is described as puke colored, the mind runs to green, yellow, or any combination of your recent meals. But in the 16th century, the high-quality wool used to make stockings was called "puke" (from the Middle Dutch word puuc, meaning best grade of cloth), and so the deep brown dye used for the hosiery was also called "puke colored."


Here’s a fun name for a bright, bold color reminiscent of a mix between raspberries and roses. It was invented in 1993 by Crayola, which first introduced it in the Big Box containing 96 crayons. It was named by five-year-old Laura Bartolomei-Hill in Crayola’s Name the New Colors Contest.

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