The color in French seem like straightforward thing to learn. ~ all, it’s simply vocabulary come memorize, right?

Pas tout à fait (Not exactly).

You are watching: How to say blue in french

Colors aren’t just a practical means to describe things. They can also include shade and nuance to your knowledge of a culture, and also shed some light on a number of common expressions.

Let’s take a nuanced look in ~ the colour in French


French shade rules

Any blog post about colors should, the course, offer you a list of the most common ones. But before I do that, I desire to talk around how colour are provided in the French language.

As a general rule, all colors in French are masculine nouns: le bleu, le rouge, le rose, etc. Example : « Quelle est ta couleur préférée ? » « Le rose.» (‘What’s your favorite color?’ ‘Pink.’)

However, as you can have i found it in that example, the word “color” in French is feminine – la couleur. Sigh….

So, you can say, J’aime la couleur de ses yeux. (I love the color of his eyes.) or J’aime le smoke de ses yeux. (I love the blue the his eyes.)

Most of the time, though, colour are used as adjectives. In this case, they follow the French grammar dominion of agreeing with the noun(s) lock modify. This means that it’s not enough to know that blanc means “white”; if a noun is feminine, blanc becomes blanche


And together you’ve most likely guessed, it doesn’t protect against there. If a noun is plural, blanc becomes blancs or blanches.

The an excellent news is, unlike blanc, to make many French colour agree through a feminine noun, you just have to include an “e” come the end. because that example, bleu becomes bleue.

And colour that currently end in “e” stay the same, even if it is a noun is woman or feminine (of course, you execute still have to add an “s” come them if they’re used in the many sense).

There space two exceptions to this rules, though: orange (orange) and also marron (brown) never CHANGE. Regardless of the sex or number of whatever castle modifying, they continue to be the same. 

For example:

Michelle a deux chiennes marron et un chien blanc, et danielle a trois chiens marron et quatre chiennes noires. (Michelle has actually two brown dogs and one white dog, and also Danielle has three brown dogs and also four black color dogs.)

Tu veux terminer ce paquet de bonbons ? J’aime toutes les autres couleurs – les rouges, les verts, les jaunes, mais je déteste les bonbons orange. (Do you desire to finish this bag the candy? i like every one of the various other colors – red, green, yellow, however I dislike the orange candies.)

French colors carry out follow one straightforward grammar rule, though: They constantly come ~ the noun(s) they modify, with the occasional exemption for poetic reasons.

Now the that’s the end of the way, let’s look in ~ a list of the most usual colors in French.

The most usual colors in French

Wondering exactly how to to speak red, yellow or blue in French?

Here space the most typical French colors and their translation (with audio.)

How come talk around colors in French

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From the practical, come the technical, to the poetic, over there are plenty of ways to precisely or lyrically describe a color. 

But yes a catch. If you usage an adverb with a French color, the color no longer has to agree through the noun(s) that proceed it. Consequentially, when paired with a color, these adverb will constantly be in their singular, mrs forms.

For example: Pour boy enterrement de vie de jeune fille, Patricia porte une perruque vert clair. (For she bachelorette party, Patricia is attract a light eco-friendly wig.).

Because perruque is a feminine noun, the adjective(s) linked with that would usually have to reflect that. But due to the fact that the shade (vert) is modification by an adverb (clair), no so.

Here’s one more example: Au zoo de Vincennes, Charles a passé longtemps à admirer les plumes bleu foncé de l’ara hyacinthe. (At the Vincennes Zoo, Charles spent a lengthy time admiring the dark blue feather of the hyacinth macaw.)

So, bearing the surprising grammar class in mind, here are a couple of useful words because that talking about colors in French.:

foncé – dark. Ex: Sa robe est vert foncé. (Her dress is dark green.)

clair – light. Ex : Les yeux de Paul sont smoke clair. (Paul’s eyes space light blue.)

fluo – florescent. Ex : Au début des années 90, les couleurs fluos étaient très à la mode. (At the begin of the 1990’s, florescent colour were really in.)

fade – faded, washed-out. Ex: Le papier-peint du salon était fade. Silver avait très envie de l’arracher des murs. (The life room wallpaper was faded. Sylvie felt an urge to rip it from the walls.)

– âtre – -ish. This suffix can be supplied with any kind of color in French. Return the suffix “-ish” in English might be neutral or informal, in French, it regularly sounds a bit literary or poetic. You’ll regularly see colors defined this means in publications or poetry. Example: Il faisait très froid. Les lèvres de Joachim étaient bleuâtres. Sandrine avait très peur. (It was really cold. There to be a bluish color to Joachim’s lips. Sandrine was very afraid.)

This thread reveals some an extremely interesting things about -âtre. One noteworthy thing to keep in mind is the it could be understood as derogatory in a case where it would make more sense because that something to simply be defined with one unmodified color word. For example, if you speak someone’s shirt is jaunâtre, it might be interpreted to typical that that washed-out or a strange or unpleasant shade of yellow; otherwise, why no just define it together jaune? the course, this all depends on context, together you deserve to see indigenous the example I used about Joachim’s lips.

vif – shining (literally, alive). Example : Elles se sont teint les cheveux en rose vif. (They dyed their hair glowing pink.)

une nuance – a shade. If you’ve been to French bookstore (in human or online) recently, you’ve probably seen the French translate into of the infamous Fifty Shades that Gray series: Cinquante Nuances de Grey.

If you want to know more French colour and more advanced color vocabulary in French, this site is an excellent resource. 

A vivid exception: Talking around hair

The French colour I’ve listed are the basic ones you deserve to use because that just about anything. However when it comes to describing a person’s physical features, that’s not constantly the case.

When friend talk about someone’s hair color, below are the words girlfriend use:

les cheveux…

rouxgris

Notice the these space all in the masculine plural, due to the fact that they need to agree with cheveux.

For unusual hair color in French, simply use the standard color word. If you desire to specify that hair is dyed a details color, you deserve to say colorés en. For example, Meagan a les cheveux colorés en bleu. 

If you desire to talk around people with a certain hair color, you usage the hair shade words, similar to in English.:

brun/brune (brunette)

For the other colors, just say aux cheveux noirs/gris/violets, etc. 

Note that while we use words brun(e) come talk about brown hair, brown eyes are still the usual shade name, marron.

French expressions through colors

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There space many, many expressions v colors in French. Right here are several of the many common.

avoir une peur bleue de quelque chose/quelqu’un – to it is in deathly afraid or something/someone. Example : J’ai une peur bleue d’araignées. (I’m deathly afraid of spiders.).vert(e) – no yet ripe. Example: Ne cueillez pas ces pommes, elles sont toujours vertes. (Don’t cut these apples native the tree, they’re not ripe yet.)avoir la key verte – to have a environment-friendly thumb (be great at making things grow).avoir carte blanche – to have actually carte blanche, the permission come do whatever you want.à l’eau de rose – too many sentimental. Literally, “scented with rosewater.” This is regularly used to describe books or television series, always in a derogatory method (even if many world secretly choose them). Example: Monique aime lire des romans a l’eau de rose. (Monique likes to review overly sentimental novels.)

And now, my favorite French shade word… 

la grisaille – grayness. This word is provided to explain overcast, cloudy, gloomy weather and also the basic ambiance the creates. It’s really common come hear it connected with the weather in Paris, wherein there’s often at the very least a couple of cloudy hours a day. The city’s iconic slate rooftops, i beg your pardon are really common in many neighborhoods, include to the grayness. La grisaille isn’t constantly used in a confident context – in fact, it tends to be negative, or neutral in ~ best. However personally, dans la grisaille parisienne, je vois la vie en rose ! (In the grayness of Paris, I see life in a happy way!). 

The significance of colors in French

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The French flag contains tricolor bands the blue, white and also red.

So far, we’ve talked around the literal and figurative interpretations of color in French. But all societies give colors another meaning, together well.

The French usually hold the same connotative definitions of color as world in the rest of the western world. For example, white is a shade that symbolizes purity, i m sorry is why most French brides wear it. Red is a shade of passion or danger, i beg your pardon is why warning signs, protect against signs, but also sexy dresses and lipsticks room this color. Eco-friendly is a color associated with nature and wellbeing, and so on. If you’d favor to testimonial or familiarize yourself through the straightforward meanings of colors in western culture, here’s an short article that can help. 

But beyond that, nationwide identity and everyday life plays a role, too. So, when you read/watch/listen come something native France, or if girlfriend visit or live in France, you’ll notice that in addition to your literal meanings and also Western culture-related connotations, there space some colour that hold a particular significance.

The many notable one is in reality a combination of 3 colors: bleu, blanc, rouge (blue, white, red.) These room the colour of the French flag (always said in this order, because that’s exactly how they appear on the flag). Sometimes, specifically in a historical context, this trio is referred to as la tricolore (the tri-colored flag). 

When the current French flag emerged after the 1789 Revolution, the blue and also red to be the color of Paris and the white was the shade of the royal home of Bourbon. Essentially, the flag motivated unity between the king and also the remainder of the populace. Unfortunately, the did not finish well….

Today la tricolore symbolizes nationwide pride and also unity. It never ever inspires fervid patriotism the method that the us flag might; instead, the French view the flag as a reminder the all French citizen are claimed to it is in equal. The an ideal. Sometimes, you’ll hear the expression bleu, blanc, beur – blue, white, Arab (beur is verlan (backwards slang) because that arabe). Return the just minority team mentioned below is human being of phibìc African descent, the implication is the all people are French, regardless of your ethnicity or skin color.

Individually, bleu and also rouge each have special meaning to the French, as well. 

Les Bleus room the nationwide football (soccer) team. Uneven the flag, talking around Les Bleus frequently will evoke a sort of passionate nationwide pride. When there’s a match, or even in some other moment when it can seem appropriate, you’ll probably hear one of the French’s favourite phrases chanted indigenous café terraces and also other collection places: Allez les Bleus! (Go Blues!). Choose the flag, the team evokes an idealistic feeling of equality, because the football player come from plenty of different ethnic, racial, religious, and also social backgrounds. 

Unfortunately, ns say “ideal” since like most areas on earth, equality isn’t actually constantly the case. Under French law, every citizens have actually equal rights, but discrimination exist in countless ways in French culture. Recently, because that example, antisemitism has actually been top top the rise. Include to the the watch never-ending prejudice against second- or 3rd -generation immigrant from areas like north and sub-Saharan Africa, especially those who live in or comme native la banlieue (the bad suburbs around Paris; roughly the identical of “inner city” in the joined States). There’s likewise prejudice versus other immigrant groups, society classes, genders, sex-related orientations, and also so on.

In fact, countless colors can be provided in derogatory ways to describe people’s skin color. Generally, uneven you have actually to define someone in a context where race is crucial for to know – because that example, if you’re report a absent person, protect against doing this. If you do have to explain a person’s skin color, never merely say “un/une <+color>”. In French, it is racist. Instead, say, C’est un homme/une femme blanc/blanche/noir/noire. NEVER define someone as jaune – this is a racist way to describe people of eastern background; to speak asiatique instead.

That’s not to say that France is a particularly hateful country. It’s just that, unfortunately, prejudice can be found anywhere and also for any reason. At least the French have tendency to watch the right as a society where it no exist, even if castle can’t constantly reach the ideal.

Another shade that has actually a special connotation come the French ~ above its own is rouge. For the French, numerous colors are linked with politics or politics issues, and also red is a huge one. The been associated with the extreme Left (Socialists, Communists, and other parties) because at least the middle to late -19th century. 

The Verts (Green Party) are one more political movement linked with a color. As you could have guessed, castle Leftists who fight for ecological issues.

Currently, another color has actually some strong political associations because that the French – well, in a details form. Girlfriend may have actually heard of the “Yellow Vests” (called Gilets Jaunes right here in France). The Gilets Jaunes embraced their “uniform”, the type of yellow vest you usage to stay visible on the road at night, because it’s straightforward to discover and easily accessible to just around any budget. They’re component of a motion that’s reacting versus what they see as unreasonable taxes and also price hikes on assorted things, native gas bills, to groceries. In ~ the movement, there room some variations – some world want the federal government to assist the poor and the working class, while others simply want to watch the human being burn. Through that in mind, the Yellow Vests have the right to mean various things to various people, but I don’t think yellow reflective vests will certainly go back to being a totally neutral garment because that a long time!

On a much more fun note, the shade pink in France is often associated with the sexual or the sentimental. You could remember indigenous the perform of expressions the le téléphone rose is a sex line, and also un roman/une série à l’eau de rose way a sappy, sentimental novel or TV series (you have the right to use à l’eau de increased to explain just around anything it is overly sentimental, through the way).

What colors execute French human being like?

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Blue is French people’s favourite color.

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Everyone is different, and there space no hard and fast rules in France about what colors friend should and also shouldn’t wear. Still, as soon as it involves what’s generally deemed to be fashionable in terms of things like inner design and also fashion, the French often tend to like a an ext muted look, especially Parisians. For example, a typical Parisian apartment might have a parquet floor (especially if the an old building), white walls through some artwork or shelves, and maybe a couple of colorful accents. 

As because that clothing, while some specific styles, choose street, ethnic, or glam, space an exception, most classic French human being opt because that subtlety and also well-made, timeless pieces or fashionable cut in an ext neutral color (black, denim, etc.). The said, the French carry out admire civilization with a distinct sense of layout that works, also if they might not select to copy said style.

According come a recent survey, French people’s favorite shade is blue. You might think this has actually something to perform with bleu, blanc,, rouge, or Les Bleus, however in fact, blue is a favorite color throughout the world. So it appears that once it pertains to colors, the French don’t normally go crazy…and they nothing constantly voir la vie en rose!

Speaking the which, let’s finish with the most well known color-related tune in French, Edith Piaf’s splendid La Vie en Rose, i m sorry every article around French colors should include!