The OED’s Fifty Shades of Grey
With the release of the much-anticipated film adaptation of the best-selling novel Fifty Shades of Grey on 13 February, we thought that it might be time to take a look in the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) and see how many shades of grey we could dig up. As it turns out, the OED gives EL James a run for the money, offering up more than 80 different synonyms for ‘grey’. (The list also includes steel, as in Anastasia Steele, in case you were wondering.) We have picked out fifty of them here for you to peruse:
butter-nut – A brownish-grey noted for being the colour of the Confederate uniforms during the American Civil War.
greige – A color between beige and grey, similar to that of undyed or unbleached fabric.
London smoke – The OED observes, ‘A fancy name for a dull shade of grey.’
Payne’s grey – A composite pigment composed of blue, red, black, and white permanent pigments, used esp. for watercolours.
tattle-tale grey – An off-white color resulting from inadequate laundering