Colours in Spanish / Los colores en español

If you are learning Spanish knowing the words for colours in Spanish is one of the first things you need to learn as they often crop up in everyday conversation and help us communicate with other people.

In this blog post we will look not only the words for colours but also how to use them correctly in sentences.

Los colores en español

red – rojo
orange – naranja
yellow – amarillo
green – verde
blue – azul
purple – morado
pink – rosa
brown – marrón
grey – gris
black – negro
white – blanco
gold – dorado
silver – plateado
navy blue – azul marino
turquoise – turquesa
violet – violeta
lilac – lila

Colours as adjectives

Colours usually describe objects, clothes, people – hair and eyes, animals and so on. As colours normally work as adjectives they need to be adapted to suit the noun they are describing so that they agree with the number and the gender.
When using adjectives certain rules apply. As you can see from the colour list above, colours end in either –o, -a, –e or a consonant.

Colours ending in –o:

These have 4 possible endings:

Male singular: -o
Female singular: -a
Male plural: -os
Female plural: -as

Let’s look at some examples using negro (black):

un gato negro – a black cat
una camiseta negra – a black T-shirt
unos perros negros – some black dogs
unas gorras negras – some black caps

So as well as memorising the word for the colours, you need to remember to change the ending to agree with what it is describing.

Colours ending in –a, -e or a consonant:

The good thing about these is that they only have two forms: singular or plural. They do not change according to the gender of the noun.

Have a look at these examples:

pink = rosa

un vestido rosa – a pink dress
una casa rosa – a pink house
unos zapatos rosas – some pink shoes
unas flores rosas – some pink flowers

green = verde

un libro verde – a green book
una ventana verde – a green window
unos sombreros verdes – some green hats
unas cortinas verdes – some green curtains

blue = azul

un coche azul – a blue car
una falda azul – a blue skirt
unos libros azules – some blue books
unas blusas azules – some blue blouses

Colours as nouns

Occasionally colours act as nouns and in these cases they are always masculine.

El rojo es un color muy bonito.
Red is a very pretty colour.

No me gusta el verde de ese vestido.
I don’t like the green of that dress.

You can also use colours as plural nouns:

Los rojos me quedan bien.
Red colours suit me.

No me gustan los morados.
I don’t like purples.

Dark or light shades

As well as knowing the word for the colour you may also want to describe the shade. There are specific words for shades of colours, especially with blue: azul marino (navy), azul cielo (sky blue), celeste (baby-blue), blue-green (azul verdoso) and also green: verde botella (bottle green), verde esmeralda (emerald green), verde bosque (forest green), verde hierba (grass green), verde menta (mint green), verde grisáceo (grey green) and so on.

The key shades that you should learn that you can use with any colour are:

oscuro – dark
claro – light

To modify the shade of the colour you put these words after the colour:

azul claro – light blue
verde oscuro – dark green

The good thing is that if you are using oscuro or claro you don’t need to change the colour or adjective to match the noun’s gender or number. Let’s look at some examples:

Me gusta el vestido rosa claro.
I like the light pink dress.

Me encanta la camisa azul claro.
I love the light blue shirt.

No me gustan los pantalones azul oscuro.
I don’t like the dark blue trousers.

Prefiero las sandalias verde claro.
I prefer the light green sandals.

You may also want to check out the blog post, “Spanish Idioms using Colours”.