Posted on December 16, 2009
Posted by John Scalzi
On real work, can’t play right now. To keep you busy:
Quick! Name your favorite obscure (i.e., non-primary, non-common secondary) color!
I’m partial to mauvy shades of pinkish russet myself.
Sorry, I meant to say #CC8899
I like the name of Periwinkle. the color, not so much
Myself, I’ve always been fond of Steelblue.
(Not sure if the html is going to render correctly – it’s not in Preview – the hex value for Steelblue is #4682B4)
Celadon. The color and the Oriental ceramics of that color.
Oh something around 505 nm @ 620 THz is pleasing to me.
Figures — vermilion was Oscar Wilde’s favorite color. I think he just liked to say the word.
I had a bet with myself someone would say fuligin. Did you bother to look it up, or did yo just read the Gene Wolfe books? Cuz it ain’t a color. More like Wolfe’s little mensa test.
Since Erica’s taken celadon, I have to go with temmoku: glossy black breaking to crystalline iron red at the rim.
Been up since 5 am tending a pottery kiln…
No one’s taken chartreuse yet? Fun to say; hard to spell.
for my money “heliotrope” (#DF73FF) and “atomic tangerine” (#FF9966) are tied for awesome.
actually, those both might make pretty good song names as well.
Lavender or lilac, they’re very much alike.
Toss-up between PMS485, coated, or PMS286, uncoated.
La Reine Mauve.
Note: this has the advantage of being easy to purchase and load into a fountain pen.
cornflower blue from the Crayola box. :o)
Gah. My bad, those would both be considered primary.
PMS2597, uncoated, then.
Pomona green. (referenced in several Georgette Heyer books)
Goldenrod, the color (and brand name) of the tablet paper I used in grade school. (Not the same as the Goldenrod indicator paper that Google says is so popular on the web.)
But with Avatar hitting theatres, I guess that will now be passe.
the coloer Awesome
Indigo. Lovely colour and a delight to say aloud and use in poetry. Indigo &/or dusk; is dusk indigo?
Add me to the “cerulean” camp.
If I need one that hasn’t been said yet, “burnt umber”.
Taupe. Not so much for the color as for the secondary meaning it has among my friends as “the player (as opposed to the traditional Red, Green, Yellow, or Blue) in a game who plays erratically to confuse opponents.”
hooloovoo? Its the intelligent choice.
Gotta give it up to Chartreuse.
Chartreuse, but that’s already been said.
Leave out all the color blind people.
Whatever color you get when you mix ultraviolet with infrared.
Puce. Mostly because I grew up in Windsor and Puce happens to be a small rural town just east of Windsor (borders on Belle River if you must know).
I moved in my current house in 2004. The basement was painted in a shade of biege. I decided that my first repainting job had to be the basement as the only description that I had for the colour on the wall was a cross between Puce and Human Fecal Matter.
I repainted it my basement in various shades of blue.
Ecru! (but that might just be that old Colgate commercial, though!) http://www.adweek.com/aw/esearch/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=532827
do a search for “primary colors”
I like the indigo as a color, and as a song.
I’ve had a fondness for wenge
Antimony. Also, chalcedony.
Mauve – I had a scorpion picture turn out that color.
A pinkish purplish color also called electric magenta.
I use it regularly in a phrase denoting another persons unrealistic statement.
“Is the color of your sky fuchsia? ’cause it sure as hell ain’t blue!”
Although I typically use another word in place of “hell”.
I don’t know about a favorite, but the color that is the bane of my existence is Microsoft Red (one of their branding colors) – #F87311. Why? Because that color is orange to anyone not working at Microsoft. I left the ad agency that did MS websites 4 years ago and I still remember that blasted hex code.
Also chartreuse, which my father described as “somewhere between puke-yellow and piss-green”.
Maxfield Parrish Blue
Viridian. Because Delirium thinks it’s a nice word.
Although as words that sound good on the tongue, I’ve always liked viridian and taupe.
Dusky Mauve – one of those Maxfield Parrish twilight colors.
and, though they’ve already been said, periwinkle and burnt sienna. Those crayola people knew how to name colors!
Chalk up another for Burnt Umber.
Mom taught art, and did (does) acrylics on the side. One of my fondest memories as a child was going into her studio, opening up the tackle box she used to hold all the little tubes of acrylics, and reading the names. They were all so wonderfully evocative of distant lands, and things both beautiful, and far away. Just knowing such words existed made me feel more worldly and wise.
Sort of a Xanadu in a box.
Mind you, I am by trade a working artist, and cannot stand, to the point of wanting to throttle someone, the use of color names in a professional environment. It’s PMS or nothing, baby. Nothing else is accurate on press.
Crayola Brick Red is my fav. Dark, smoky, and satisfying. Filled with mystery, strength, and inner wile.
Foreseeable Fuchsia (thanks, Howard Gossage!)
Mary at number 22 took mine! My backup, burnt sienna, was taken even earlier. I’m feeling rather brandeis now…:(
From the old crayola sets:
2nd favorite, for various reasons:
PMS 485 and Black #7
To answer: Teal
To risk the dreaded tangent: I work for a bedding company. The design department is constantly spouting color names that drive me crazy. I have the 10 color crayon set in my head. It’s red, orange, yellow, etc. This plethora of names drives me batty! Some make sense: cognac, sage, etc. Sure. But what color is “sweet”? What color is “fresh”? What about “Reseda”?
To help me adapt to this new culture, my sweetie and I modified our perpetual game of “punch-buggy” (aka ‘slug bug’ to some) whereby one had to announce the name of the bug color using a style name. No more “punch buggy blue” it had to be “punch buggy midnight” or “punch buggy ocean.”
Naples yellow; it’s the most useful pigment for portraiture ever. Mix it with any of the following: vermilion, transparent red oxide, cadmium red light, titanium white, or transparent yellow ochre, and you’ve now got every midtone to highlight in most skin tones.
Count me in the celadon camp.
Wot, no Dead Spaniard or Scratch Face?
Also surprised no one has suggested the Ob-SF “color of a television tuned to a dead channel.”
Weird… my comment didnt show up…
Gem colours are lovely too:
Opal, Aquarmarine, Sapphire, Charoite, Hematite, Citrine, Amber, Malachite, Emerald, Labradorite, Jade, Amethyst, Ruby, Garnet, Onyx, Jasper…
Cerulean. Not because of the color — it’s blue — but because it’s such a lovely word.
I changed my mind.
I don’t care if its primary or not.
Another vote for celadon, which oddly, is being flagged by spell check.
That’s a phrase that sure doesn’t mean what it used to.
I like the name Chartreuse (I remember a sandwich shop in Lincoln, NE called the Chartreuse Caboose)
but for actual colors, I like Periwinkle a lot – the actual plant is kudzu-like in its takeover of any bed where it’s planted, but the color is very pleasant
Another vote for:
(imperial purple = 6,6′-Dibromoindigo )
Damn, someone got octarine.
How about glaucous and weimaraner gray?
Thalo green for me. #56, Maxfield Parish is famous for his use of Colbalt blue (as #63 said), but blue is primary. A secondary color is created by mixing equal parts of primary colors. And here I am, looking at a paint catalog!
Plum both the red side and blue side. The annoying thing is my favourite colours are more the result of texture effects than pigment.
Jasper. Whatever color it is, when I buy the beads, the variety appears to be infinite.
burnt sienna (and i can’t believe that three people said it. yay for us!)
Also puce. There’s a large part of discrete math that can be thought of as colouring certain kinds of structures in certain prescribed ways; when I was a grad student one of my profs would always make sure that one of the colours was puce.
Cornflower blue. Just driving by a field of them can make me smile.
Speaking as one person born and raised in the greater Los Angeles metropolis to another: John, I’m surprised at your choice.
As for me? GO DODGER BLUE!
I’m amused by the fact that there are already more comments for this post than for the four previous posts combined.
But in order to not break the string of colors with my irreverent comment, I’ll put forth my second choice:
I don’t have a name for it, but that glowing shade of blue the sky turns during the evening magic hour after a summer rain.
It’s a strong mid blue mostly used to draw things on white pottery. Also there aren’t many words with “lft”
I don’t care if it’s already been said… Chartreuse all the way.
@Steve Boyett I picked the color to see if anyone would notice. I figured someone would.
love all those shades of blue that blend seamlessly across the sky during a sunset on a crisp, clear winter evening – I’m sure they have interesting names –
9-year-old daughter – “lime green!”
Must also go with Crimson. It’s like Red plus awesome.
Failing that, navy.
I was going to go with “A whiter shade of pale” but I felt that was a lot more obvious than a Gene Wolfe reference.
Rosco #51, Surprise Pink.
That nifty iridescent green you get in dragonfly eyes.
British racing green.
burnt sienna” I used to walk by a Cadillac dealer every day o my way to school and there was a beautiful car for months that I could not ignore. I finally stopped and read the sticker to see what color it was. Start of a lifelong love of brown. But not Cadillacs.
Cream sickle Orange
aquamarine or mother-of-pearl
Quinacridone crimson. Favorite paint color, anyway.
Although I was really excited by sap green for awhile.
@#1 Marko: ‘taupe’ comes from the Latin for mole (the burrowing kind).
I agree with those who picked chartreuse, although this is largely because of an odd bit of cognitive disobedience – my brain refuses to believe it’s a yellowy-green and insists, quite resolutely, that it is some form of red (presumably confusing it with crimson and carmine although, with my brain, who can be sure?).
Terracota, but only because I like saying it.
Also, bistre. For the same reason.
Fuschia…as in the lyric to the Elton John song Rocket Man:
“…burning out his fuschia harralon”
Although I admit I’ve never been quite sure what a harralon was. Since they come in fuschia, I’m sure I’d rember seeing one…must be something excruciatly British and a bit fey.
and, though it is primary, pigeon’s blood red, as in pigeon’s blood rubies.
I’ll take embarrassing spelling mistakes for 10, please. That should, of course, have been Octarine . . .
Purple, in a nice medium-dark shade. But for color names, you can’t beat ecru.
The one Out Of Space, obviously.
Indigo. Because it keeps coming up as a marvelously purple blue when I see it used.
Yellow oxide (useful) or veridian (pretty)
I have a similar confusion with cerise. For years there was a supper club of that name in LaCrosse, WI that was painted in various shades of blue. I just assumed…
Duh. It’s pink, same root word as cherries.
ashes of roses
I’ve always been fond of the word cerise.
Orchid, of course!
(from Wikipedia’s List of Colors)
I like the expression “black as pitch”. So if that can be a color, I choose pitch black.
Viridian for me.
When I was a kid I’d always pick clear! (hey, I was a very weird kid!)
Reflex or Process Blue
Indigo. Like the bunting.
Also I’d like to mention in passing all the crayon color names Crayola used in the 1950s and 1960s but would not be caught dead using today, such as “flesh” and “Indian red.” This is probably a good thing, but kind of sad.
Does cadet blue count? It does have blue in the name. So, if it doesn’t count, cerulean!
@ 119 # Buck
Taupe is actually the French word for mole. I’m not saying it doesn’t resemble the latin word; I don’t know much about latin.
Does no one else like lavender?
@ 147 # Nathreee
I love lavender, along with any color that resembles purple.
Right at this moment I prefer Opera mauve
Puce – I go Pogo, too.
Octarine – because the world NEEDS a color name for the radiant emissions caused by quantum tunneling on the event horizon of a black hole.
In my youth my favorite color in the crayon box was pine green. Or if I was in a scatological mood, one or more of the Umbers and Siennas would work, too.
Oh, and out of respect for my father the former model-railroader: grimy black.
This is the color of a black tanker car (prior to environmental regulations) after a few different chemicals have overflowed the sides at various fill-ups during its useful lifetime.
What, no love for the late John M Ford? I’ll go for enblu. Or possible redor.
Turquoise, but then again, I’m just biding my time here until someone figures out this time travel thing so I can get back to where I belong: The 1950s. My kingdom for a turquoise GE Monitor Top!
Periwinkle, for the name and the color, and Maize. I miss maize in the crayola box. Mac and Cheese is a crappy color.
Magenta – because it was my favorite Crayola in the big box.
Cerulean here too.
I don’t have a favourite obscure colour, but I love the colour the sky gets when the sun has dropped below the horizon and pink bleeds upwards into ever-darkening blue through to indigo. I could look at that for hours, especially with the odd tree sillhouetted black against the sky. Pity it only lasts a few minutes.
Bonnie @ 140:
I never knew Amaranth was considered a colour until now. I just thought of it as an ingredient in my favourite organic breakfast cereal, Mesa Sunrise. (Or an old White Wolf gaming reference).
Ardprest @ 125/126:
For some reason that spelling error totally tickled my funnybone and a literally laughed until I cried. I think it was that near-hysteria hilarity reaction from being very tired at work at 4.23 am. That’s anyway. I needed the laugh.
Blegh, now I can’t spell!
That should read ‘Thanks, anyway’.
Scarlet lake. It was one of my favorite shades of red in my prismacolor box.
It’s the color Nancy Drew’s hair was in the original books. Being of a more brunette persuasion myself, I always thought it would be so lovely to have titian hair…
Puce. I love saying the word.
Mistey Massey: Plus people inevitably misspell it as “Titan” which is amusing, too!
Gotta go with my favorite crayola color thistle…purple and prickly.
Squant is missing? How’d that happen? It’s the fourth primary color…I thought this was an enlightened, progressive website….
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Athena Scalzi, editor/writer -AMS
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