colors

Colors in Spanish – Essential Words and Phrases

What is your favorite color? Mine is green. People say it looks good on me. Plus, it is the color of hope, so it helps me keep positive. 

Knowing how to name different colors is one of the necessary skills when you study Spanish. 

Even though it is just a few simple words, they prove incredibly useful in our daily conversations, allowing us better to explain our preferences, choices, and decisions. 

11 Basic Colors in Spanish 

  • 🇪🇸 negro – 🇬🇧 black
  • 🇪🇸 blanco – 🇬🇧 white
  • 🇪🇸 rojo – 🇬🇧 red
  • 🇪🇸 amarillo – 🇬🇧 yellow
  • 🇪🇸 azul – 🇬🇧 blue
  • 🇪🇸 verde – 🇬🇧 green
  • 🇪🇸 rosado – 🇬🇧 pink
  • 🇪🇸 anaranjado – 🇬🇧 orange
  • 🇪🇸 morado, púrpura – 🇬🇧 purple
  • 🇪🇸 gris – 🇬🇧 grey
  • 🇪🇸 café / marrón – 🇬🇧 brown

What to remember about colors in Spanish

I realize that grammar is probably not much fun, but if you want to use the names of the colors effectively in Spanish, you should keep in mind 2 rules. 

1. Colors in Spanish can be adjectives or nouns.

Do you wonder what the difference is between an adjective and a noun? Let me explain it with an example:

Red is my favorite color – in this sentence, the color red is a noun and the grammatical subject.

but,

My car is red – here, the color red is used as an adjective, and it describes the noun “car.”

The very same thing happens in Spanish.

El rojo es mi color favorito.  – the color “rojo” is used as a noun, and it is accompanied by the article “el”.

Why “el”?

Because it refers to “color,” which in Spanish is masculine. The use of a definite article stresses the fact that red is a unique and clearly defined representative of the color group. 

What happens when “red” or another color is used as adjectives?

Mi auto es rojo

As you can see, in this case, there is no difference between the English and the Spanish version.

But what if – instead of a car – I want to talk about, let’s say a jacket?

In Spanish, that would be “una chaqueta”. 

And the article “una” means that the word is feminine. 

2. Colors in Spanish change gender and number

That’s right. Depending on the word they describe, colors can have a masculine or feminine form, and come in singular or plural.

When you want to talk about a red jacket that you own, you’ll have to say:

Mi chaqueta es roja

As you see, the adjective “rojo” has changed its form to the feminine “roja”. 

Do all the colors change their form depending on the gender?

Only the ones that end in “-o”. Azul, verde, marrón, café, púrpura and gris remain the same:

Mi carro es azul. – “carro” is masculine
Mi chaqueta es azul.  – “chaqueta” is feminine

How about the plural form? 

Adjectives in Spanish do pluralize, which means you will have to adjust the number of the chosen color to the noun it describes:

🇪🇸 Mis zapatos son negros. – masculine and plural
🇬🇧 My shoes are black.

🇪🇸 Mis zapatillas son negras. – feminine and plural
🇬🇧 My sneakers are black.

As you can see, the plural form in Spanish doesn’t require more than merely adding the letter “s” to the singular form (whether it is masculine or feminine).

The only two colors that break this rule slightly are azul and marrón. They make the plural form by adding “es”:

🇪🇸 Mis zapatos son azules. – masculine and plural
🇬🇧 My shoes are blue.

🇪🇸 Todas mis carteras son marrones. – feminine and plural
🇬🇧 All my handbags are brown. 

If you want to learn more about gender and the number in Spanish, check

out the Ultimate Guide to Spanish Adjectives. 

Colors in Spanish  – Common Practical Use

Now that the necessary grammar has been covered, time for some fun.

Let’s see how to use colors in an everyday context.

The short conversations below will show you the most common questions and possible answers related to colors. They all use the essential Spanish question words you should master. 

🇪🇸
A: ¿Cuál es tu color favorito?
B: Mi color favorito es el verde.
🇬🇧
A: What’s your favorite color?
B: My favorite color is green.

🇪🇸
A: ¿Te gusta el rosado?
B: No, en realidad no mucho. 
🇬🇧
A: Do you like pink?
B: No, in fact, not too much / no, not really.

🇪🇸
A: ¿De qué color es tu vestido?
B: Negro. 
🇬🇧
A: What color is your dress?
B: Black. 

🇪🇸
A: ¿Porqué te gusta tanto el amarillo?
B: Porque es un color alegre. 
🇬🇧
A: Why do you like yellow so much?
B: Because it is a cheerful color.

🇪🇸
A: Tus manos están muy rojas, ¿por qué?
B: Tengo mucho frío. 
🇬🇧
A: Your hands are very red; why?
B: I’m so cold. 

This last example is quite interesting, as it shows that colors in Spanish can be used not only with the verb “ser” but also “estar”.

Do you know the difference between them? 

Ser” is usually used to describe permanent conditions, while “estar” refers to temporary and changeable states. 

It takes a while to grasp the full extent of the use of these two verbs in Spanish. 

English speakers, whose native language translates both of them in the same way – “to be”, commonly make mistakes trying to distinguish when to use “ser” and when to use “estar”. 

More sentences with colors in Spanish

Would you like to see a few more examples of how to use colors in everyday Spanish conversations? Be my guest:

🇪🇸 ¡Cuidado! El semáforo está en rojo.  
🇬🇧 Watch out! The traffic light is red. 

🇪🇸 La bandera de Colombia tiene tres franjas horizontales: amarilla, azul y roja.  
🇬🇧 Colombian flag has three horizontal stripes: yellow, blue, and red. 

🇪🇸 Me gusta esta blusa. ¿La tiene (usted) en morado? 
🇬🇧 I like this blouse. Do you have it in purple?

🇪🇸 Comer vegetales de hojas verdes es muy bueno para la salud.
🇬🇧 Eating green-leafed vegetables is very good for your health.

🇪🇸 Este río está muy contaminado. Mira el color marrón que tiene el agua. 
🇬🇧 This river is very polluted. Look at how brown the water is. 

🇪🇸 Si mezclas el rojo con el amarillo obtendrás el naranjo. 
🇬🇧 If you mix red with yellow, you’ll get orange.

🇪🇸 La maleta que he perdido era gris. 
🇬🇧 The suitcase I’ve lost was grey. 

24 Additional colors in Spanish 

If my teenage daughter saw the shortlist of colors I gave you at the beginning of this post, she would be aghast. 

“Mom, but there are so many more!”.

Sure there are. So, for those of you who like to be very specific when it comes to colors and whose sight can distinguish even the subtlest differences in shade, here’s a more complete list:

  • 🇪🇸 celeste – 🇬🇧 sky blue
  • 🇪🇸 turquesa – 🇬🇧 turquoise
  • 🇪🇸 verde oliva – 🇬🇧 olive green
  • 🇪🇸 verde menta – 🇬🇧 mint green
  • 🇪🇸 borgoña – 🇬🇧 burgundy
  • 🇪🇸 lavanda – 🇬🇧 lavender
  • 🇪🇸 magenta – 🇬🇧 magenta
  • 🇪🇸 salmón – 🇬🇧 salmon
  • 🇪🇸 cian – 🇬🇧 cyan
  • 🇪🇸 beige – 🇬🇧 beige 
  • 🇪🇸 lila  – 🇬🇧 lilac
  • 🇪🇸 fucsia – 🇬🇧 fuchsia
  • 🇪🇸 mostaza – 🇬🇧 mustard
  • 🇪🇸 ocre – 🇬🇧 ochre
  • 🇪🇸 trullo – 🇬🇧 teal
  • 🇪🇸 malva – 🇬🇧 mauve
  • 🇪🇸 verde lima – 🇬🇧 lime green
  • 🇪🇸 ciruela – 🇬🇧 plum
  • 🇪🇸 melocotón / damasco – 🇬🇧 apricot
  • 🇪🇸 violeta – 🇬🇧 violet
  • 🇪🇸 tan – 🇬🇧 tan
  • 🇪🇸 granate – 🇬🇧 maroon
  • 🇪🇸 azul marino – 🇬🇧 navy blue
  • 🇪🇸 verde esmeralda – 🇬🇧 emerald green

Wow, who said colors were dull?

As you can see, many of these words look very similar to English. Some of them are actual names of fruits.  Yet, Spanish pronunciation rules are quite different, so always check how to pronounce a new word

With such a wide array of colors, we can form many spectacular sentences:

🇪🇸 El fucsia y el borgoña están muy de moda últimamente. 
🇬🇧 Fuchsia and burgundy are very trendy lately. 

🇪🇸 Mi novia tiene unos ojos color turquesa más hermosos en el mundo. 
🇬🇧 My girlfriend has the most beautiful turquoise eyes in the world. 

🇪🇸 La camisa verde lima no combina mucho con tu corbata color salmón. 
🇬🇧 The lime green shirt doesn’t really match your salmon-colored tie.

🇪🇸 Me gusta usar el azul marino con blanco cuando voy a la playa.
🇬🇧 I like to wear navy blue and white when I go to the beach.

🇪🇸 El tapiz color lavanda es poco práctico. Se notan mucho todas las manchas. 
🇬🇧 Lavender upholstery is very impractical. All stains are easily visible. 

🇪🇸 Busco pintura color trullo y malva.  
🇬🇧 I’m looking for teal and mauve paint. 

Easy ways to describe color intensity in Spanish

If the specific names of colors above are too fancy for you, you can always resort to other ways. 

In the end, navy blue is nothing but dark blue, isn’t it?

And mauve…isn’t it just pale pink?

The Spanish language gives you the same possibilities as English:

  • 🇪🇸 claro – 🇬🇧 light
  • 🇪🇸 oscuro – 🇬🇧 dark
  • 🇪🇸 brillante – 🇬🇧 bright
  • 🇪🇸 pálido  – 🇬🇧 pale
  • 🇪🇸 opaco – 🇬🇧 opaque, dull
  • 🇪🇸 profundo – 🇬🇧 deep
  • 🇪🇸 vivo – 🇬🇧 vivid

🇪🇸 El sospechoso vestía un polerón azul oscuro, y un jeans verde claro. 
🇬🇧 The suspect was wearing a dark blue sweatshirt and light green jeans.

🇪🇸 Quiero repintar la casa. El color amarillo en las paredes está demasiado opaco.
🇬🇧 I want to repaint the house. The yellow color on the walls is too dull.

🇪🇸 El partido de México contra Brasil está al rojo vivo. Cualquier cosa puede pasar. 
🇬🇧 The Mexico vs. Brazil match is hot red. Anything can happen.  

🇪🇸 Me voy a teñir el pelo marrón oscuro.
🇬🇧 I’m going to dye my hair dark brown.

🇪🇸 Me gusta cuando te pintas los labios ese color rosa brillante. 
🇬🇧 I like it when you put on that bright pink lipstick.

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Joanna Lupa

Joanna Lupa

Polish by birth, Chilean by the turns of life. Has spent 20 years in that beautiful South American country working as a language teacher and translator. Has taught Spanish and English to students of all proficiency levels. Passionate about languages, books, and traveling. A mother of 2 trilingual teenagers.