Learning the colors is an essential part of speaking a language. You may not have ever thought about it, but we use colors all the time in day-to-day speech. After all, it’s often the simplest way to describe objects in Spanish vocabulary, like food (apples or peppers, for example), cars, clothing, and plenty of other things. Unfortunately, there’s no real “system” for color words in most languages. But on the plus side, knowing just 10 or 15 colors in Spanish will be enough to get you by in most situations. Plus, we’ll teach you some tricks for describing colors when you’re not sure of the exact word.
Rojo, Amarillo, Azul: Learn the Most Important Colors in Spanish
Colors go far beyond the physical: using colors in a language helps us to express emotions and add flair to what we want to say. Every language has expressions that use different colors to impart meaning, and different cultures use different colors for different situations.
Colors also help us express emotions through language. For example, in English we might say that somebody is seeing red if they’re really angry, but in Spanish, you might say, “Se puso negro cuando se enteró.”
In this list of colors in Spanish, you’ll learn the most important shades, how to add precision to your descriptions, and some common Spanish expressions with colors for a richer command of the language.
Colors as adjectives in Spanish
Colors in Spanish go after nouns, and agree in number (singular or plural) and gender (masculine or feminine).
Only colors that end with –o change from masculine to feminine, taking on an –a at the end. For example, rojo becomes roja, and amarillo becomes amarilla.
To make a color plural, add –s if the color ends in a vowel, and –es if the color ends in a consonant. Therefore, azul becomes azules, while verde becomes verdes.
Colors with adverbs, like claro (light) and oscuro (dark), and some colors like naranja and rosa, are invariable—they do not change, regardless of gender or number. Thus, we say: las hojas verde oscuro (dark green leaves).
Primary Colors (los colores primarios)
Rojo(s) / roja(s) — Red
Amarillo(s) / amarilla(s) — Yellow
Azul(es) — Blue
Ponerse rojo — To blush.
Ponerse rojo de ira — Go red with anger.
Prensa jaune — Sensationalist press.
Tener sangre azul — To have blue blood (be royal).
Príncipe azul — Prince charming.
Secondary Colors (los colores secundarios)
Secondary colors are made from different combinations of primary colors.
Verde(s) — Green
Naranja(s) — Orange
Violeta(s) or Morado(s) / morada(s) — Purple
Estar verde — To be green (new at something, not an expert).
Poner verde — To badmouth somebody.
Ponerse morado — To stuff one’s face (overeat).
Tertiary Colors (los colores terciarios)
Mixes of one primary and one secondary color.
Verde azulado — Teal
Verde lima — Lime green
Marrón(es) — Brown
Comerse un marrón — to own up to something.
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Other common colors
Rosa — Pink
Magenta(s) — Magenta
Coral(es) — Coral
Carmesí — Crimson
Azul marino — Navy blue
Turquesa(s) — Turquoise
Azul celeste — Cyan
Verde oliva — Olive green
(de color) marfil / blanco roto — Ivory
Beige — Beige
Gris — Gray
Gris carbón, gris antracita — Charcoal gray
Negro(s) / negra(s) — Black
Blanco(s) / blanca(s) — White
Plateado(s) / plateada(s) — Silver
Dorado(s) / dorada(s) — Gold
Multicolor — Multicolored
You can use adverbs to describe colors in Spanish the same way you can in English. Remember, colors with adverbs are invariable.
Azul oscuro — Dark blue
Verde claro — Light green
Amarillo brillante — Bright yellow
There are also a whole host of suffixes for describing colors that are close to a common one. In English, we accomplish this with –ish: reddish, blueish, etc., but in Spanish, you’ll just have to learn them.
Rojizo — Reddish
Amarillento — Yellowish
Blancquecino — Whitish
Verdoso — Greenish
How to Say Colors in Spanish
To help you learn the different colors in Spanish, and especially how to pronounce them, we made this YouTube video, with subtitles in English, Spanish, German, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese. (The color orange in Spanish is notoriously hard to pronounce! Watch this video and see if you can get it right.) Feel free to slow down the playback speed by clicking on the settings icon in the bottom-right corner.
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Memorize the Colors in Spanish
Like with any vocabulary, the best way to remember the colors in Spanish over the long term is with a spaced repetition system, like the one used in the MosaLingua apps and our MosaLingua Web platform. With this method, you’ll review Spanish colors (and other vocab) just before you’re about to forget them, and after a few well-timed study sessions, they’ll be committed to your long-term memory. Many of these colors are already included in your MosaLingua Spanish app, but you can always add custom flashcards for any other colors you’d like to know.
What is your favorite color in Spanish? We’d love to hear what you thought of this article in the comments below! If you have any questions, we’ll be happy to help.