Tag: colours

snow

The white stuff: notes on the OED update

It’s that time again, when we bring you the very latest in additions to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), and, as usual, we have lexicographical facts and figures coming out of our ears. This quarterly OED update contains around 500 new words, phrases, and senses, spanning a period of nearly 1,100 years in the history […]

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50 Shades

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 […]

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red map

Infographic: words for red around the world

Today National Wear Red Day is celebrated in the US to raise awareness of heart disease. We’re joining in to show our support – but not by actually donning some red clothes. Instead we’re exploring translations of red in other languages: from Afrikaans to Icelandic, click through our interactive map to trace how to say red around the world.

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colours

Colourful language: colours in international idioms

Although we have a plethora of words in our vocabularies to describe colour, it’s unlikely that we each perceive colour in the same way. What if your red is actually my blue, or my yellow is your green? We may never know if a Parisian’s rouge is identical to a Varsovian’s czerwony, but we can […]

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drunk tank pink1

Drunk tank pink? International Klein blue? Charting the outer-reaches of the colour spectrum

As Katherine Shaw noted in a rather colourful article for this blog, the origins of the English primary colour names are ultimately either non-referential, in that they aren’t derived from the colour of some previously known entity, or have such long histories that their origins are simply unknown. This, she notes, is in contrast with […]

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crayons

Red and yellow and pink and green…

Many of us learn the colours of the rainbow from an early age, but have you ever wondered where the names for the different shades we see around us come from? The origins of many of the words for the colours of the visible spectrum go back far in time, and are ultimately unknown. But […]

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Five Shades of Grey? Colours and their connotations

Five Shades of Grey? Colours and their connotations

There used to be nothing erotic about grey. Until E. L. James it was, for me, the colour of John Major’s underpants because that’s how Steve Bell always drew them in his cartoons for the British newspaper The Guardian. Grey is the colour of brains (grey matter) but I don’t think that’s the point of […]

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