Colors in Portuguese [with Audio Pronunciation]

On the journey to fluency in Portuguese, there’s nothing more important than being able to describe the world around you and learning colors is the way to start!

Not only will learning colors open up your vocabulary, they’re also essential to understanding all types of pop culture references, movies and songs. Most importantly, colors are used every day to distinguish between things.

Here, we’ll teach you different types of colors in Portuguese, from the basic vermelha to the more advanced carmesim! 


The Basics: Colors of the Rainbow in Portuguese

To begin, since we’ll be following the rainbow on this journey, we obviously need to know the colors, as cores , of that rainbow. Here they are:

Vermelho / Vermelha — Red

O sangue vermelho The red blood

Uma blusa vermelha A red shirt

Alaranjado / Alaranjada — Orange

As mangas alaranjadas The orange mangos

Um capacete alaranjado An orange helmet

[Da cor] laranja — [of the color] orange

Exception: Some colors in Portuguese appear to be adjectives, but actually represent nouns of the same color. Laranja  actually refers to the fruit orange. These noun-colors formally appear as da cor  ____, such as:

O copo da cor laranja The orange cup (literally, “the cup of the color orange”)

The beginning of this phrase can also be left off, such as:

O copo laranja The orange cup

In this case, the ending of the color doesn’t change for masculine/feminine or for plurals. This is because the color is a noun, not an adjective. So the plural of the previous sentence would look like:

Os copos laranja The orange cups

Amarelo / Amarela — Yellow

Os pássaros amarelos The yellow birds

A minha prancha amarela My yellow surfboard

Verde — Green

A grama verde The green grass

Uns cactos verdes Some green cacti

Azul — Blue

O céu azul The blue sky

Azul is a slightly irregular color word. It doesn’t change based gender, but in the plural form becomes azuis .

Os carros azuis The blue cars

Índigo / Índiga — Indigo

Much like in English, this color isn’t very commonly used in spoken Portuguese. But since it’s technically a color of the rainbow, we’ve included it here for consistency.

O meu vestido índigo My indigo dress

As suas pulseiras índigas — Your/His/Her/Their indigo bracelets

Violeta / Da cor violeta — Violet

Exception: Violeta, like laranja, is a color referring to a noun, and therefore doesn’t change based on gender or number.

Os óculos violeta , or os óculos da cor violeta The violet glasses

Other Must-know Colors in Portuguese

While the colors of the rainbow are important to learn, the next group of colors appears at least as frequently in Portuguese, and are therefore some must-know colors.

Branco / Branca — White

As nuvens brancas The white clouds

O meu guardanapo branco My white napkin

Preto / Preta — Black

O pneu preto — The black tire

As nossas mochilas pretas Our black backpacks

Cinza — Gray

Exception: Again, like violeta  and laranja , cinza is a color referring to a noun (ash, or cinder). Therefore, it doesn’t change based on gender or number.

Os gatos cinza — The gray cats

Roxo / Roxa — Purple

A parede roxa  The purple wall

A minha caneta roxa My purple pen

Rosa — Pink

Exception: You guessed it, rosa refers to the noun “rose,” and doesn’t change based on gender or number of the word it’s describing.

As flores rosa The pink flowers

Marrom — Brown (Brazilian Portuguese)

A cadeira marrom — The brown chair

Exception: In Portuguese, when a noun ends in “m” it’s made plural by changing the “m” to an “n” and adding “s,” as in:

As cadeiras marrons — The brown chairs

Castanho / Castanha — Brown (European Portuguese)

A mesa castanha The brown table

Uns sapatos castanhos Some brown shoes

Bonus Portuguese Colors to Really Sound Like a Native

If your goal is to pass as a native or to really impress your Portuguese speaking friends, learning these less common colors will really put you a step ahead of the rest!

Bege — Beige

Exception: Here we have another example of a noun-referring color, which won’t change based on gender or number.

As calças bege —The beige pants

Carmesim — Crimson

Os meus batons carmesins My crimson lipstick

O campo carmesin The crimson field

Transparente — Transparent

A água transparente The transparent water

With these bonus colors under your belt, describing the world around you will be a breeze.

Adjectives and Agreement: Easy-to-follow Grammar Tips

Now that we’ve learned the main colors of the rainbow and other must-know colors in Portuguese, let’s take a look at a couple of simple rules for using them.

Portuguese Colors and Gender

Every Portuguese noun has a gender. When using adjectives it’s necessary to make the adjectives agree with the nouns.

Picture this: You’ve just arrived at the airport in Salvador. You’re ready to spend the best week of your life dancing and listening to incredible Brazilian music. Yeah, you guessed it. It’s Carnival! Since you want to immerse yourself as much as possible in the city and culture, you ask someone what bus to take to get to the city center. “O ônibus amarelo,” (the yellow bus) she replies.

The helpful lady at the airport used the color amarelo  (yellow) to describe o ônibus   (the bus).

Because o ônibus is masculine (you can tell by the article “o”), the adjective, amarelo, must be made masculine as well. To do this, we simply make it end in o.

When describing a feminine noun, such as a casa  (the house), instead of ending the adjective in o, it ends in a.

O ônibus amarel(the yellow bus)

A casa amarel(the yellow house)

Remember, adjectives in Portuguese almost always follow the noun.

Portuguese Colors and Pluralization

Just like with gender, adjectives must agree in number with the noun being described.

To make an adjective agree with a plural noun, we simply add an s to the end of the word. So the first two examples, made plural, would become:

Os ônibus amarelos (the yellow buses—the plural form of the word “ônibus” is the same as the singular form)

As casas amarelas (the yellow houses)


The examples listed above work only for regular adjectives ending in o or a. When a noun doesn’t end in o/a, it doesn’t change its ending for gender agreement.

There are occasional other exceptions to these agreement rules, but don’t worry, as you begin to learn and use the colors, you’ll soon become confident in knowing when you should apply these rules.

The best way to learn and practice the colors and grammar rules in Portuguese is to immerse yourself in native media to see how they are used by native speakers. There are many different resources online, such as YouTube, or for more practice and support you could try a language learning program like FluentU

FluentU uses authentic content such as music videos, movie clips and interesting talks to immerse you in the language. Each video comes with interactive subtitles which you can hover over to see more information about the word, such as definitions and pronunciation information.

By seeing the vocabulary used in context by native speakers, you’ll quickly become confident in using it.

FluentU is available to access on your browser or by downloading the iOS and Android app. 

Killer Vocabulary to Use with Your New Colors

In any language, we often use extra vocabulary to highlight the specific type of color for additional detail when describing something.

The following vocabulary words will allow you to have even more flexibility with your descriptions. By using them, you’ll be able to better describe everything around you and even modify the colors you already know.

Colorido / Colorida Colorful

Incolor Colorless

Claro / Clara Light

Escuro / Escura Dark

These last two can be used to modify any color to make it lighter or darker. Remember to modify both adjectives for gender and number!

A garrafa verde clara The light green bottle

As camisas azuis escuras The dark blue shirts

The Human Touch: How to Describe People Using Colors

Portuguese, even more than English, has a whole set of colors used specifically to describe people.

To start, here are some Portuguese words used for skin tones:

Branco / Branca White

Moreno / Morena Dark-skinned or tanned

Negro / Negra Black

Amarelo / Amarela Yellow

Note: Unlike in English, where calling someone “yellow” can be considered offensive, amarelo is a normal and generally inoffensive term for someone’s skin tone in Portuguese. In fact, it often appears on demographics sections of standardized tests and surveys.

This next group is full of colors used to describe someone’s hair color in Portuguese:

Ruivo / Ruiva Red

Loiro / Loira Blond

Castanho / Castanha — Brown

Grisalho / Grisalha — Gray

Branco / Branca White

Note: Someone who, in English, would be described as having white hair, is frequently described in Portuguese as having cabelo branco . This description stands even if the person’s hair isn’t bright white.

Except for branco, all of these words for hair color can also be used as nouns, such as:

Ela é uma loira — She is blond (Literally: she is a blond)

For branco, you’d instead say:

Eles tem cabelo branco — They have white hair

Four Phrases to Jump-start Your Color Conversations

Now that you’ve learned all of the colors in Portuguese, it’s time to start using them in your Portuguese conversations and practice them as often as possible!

Here are four phrases that’ll make talking about colors easy and fun.

Qual é a cor de _____? What color is ____?

De que cor é _____? What color is ____?

Que cor é essa? What color is this?

Qual é a sua cor preferida? What is your favorite color?

Congratulations! You’ve Made it to the End of the Rainbow!

You made it! After all that hard work, you’ve finally arrived at the finish line: the tesouro  (treasure) at the end of the rainbow.

Here are a couple more colors so you can talk about what you found!

Dourado Gold

Prateado Silver

Você achou moedas douradas e joalheria prateada You found gold coins and silver jewelry


Hopefully, this lesson brought a little more color to your Portuguese journey.

If you want some help with pronouncing a lot of these colors, check out this video.

Boa sorte! (Good luck!)

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