The Complete Guide to Spanish Colors

What were the first words you learned in Spanish?

I’d guess that some of them were colors!

It’s not hard to see why—color words are essential for lots of tasks, from writing creatively and understanding poetry, to indicating objects and expressing likes and dislikes.

This article will show you some of the most common Spanish color words, as well as the most important rules for using them!

Contents

Spanish Colors That Change with Gender

EnglishSpanishExample
RedRojo/aLa fresa es roja.
(The strawberry is red.)
OrangeAnaranjado/aMi color favorito es anaranjado.
(My favorite color is orange.)
YellowAmarillo/aQuiero una camisa amarilla.
(I want a yellow shirt.)
PurpleMorado/aElla tiene pantalones morados.
(She has purple pants.)
PinkRosado/aSu color favorito es el rosado.
(Her favorite color is pink.)
BlackNegro/aTengo un perro negro.
(I have a black dog.)
WhiteBlanco/aLas nubes son blancas.
(The clouds are white.)
GoldDorado/aEl pescado es dorado.
(The fish is golden.)
SilverPlateado/aTengo un coche plateado.
(I have a silver car.)
ColorfulColorido/aSu ropa es colorida.
(Her clothes are colorful.)
LightClaro/aÉl tiene ojos azules claros.
(He has light blue eyes.)
DarkOscuro/aEl cielo está oscuro.
(The sky is dark.)

Spanish Colors That Don’t Change with Gender

EnglishSpanishExample
MagentaMagentaLa chaqueta es magenta.
(The jacket is magenta.)
PinkRosaA ella no le gustan los vestidos rosas.
(She doesn't like pink dresses.)
OrangeNaranjaÉl lleva pantalones naranjas.
(He wears orange pants.)
GreenVerdeTengo un sofá verde.
(I have a green couch.)
TurquoiseTurquesaÉl vende joyas turquesa.
(He sells turquoise jewelry.)
BlueAzulEl cielo es azul.
(The sky is blue.)
PurpleVioletaElla tiene un vestido violeta.
(She has a purple dress.)
MaroonGranateTengo un sofá granate.
(I have a maroon couch.)
BrownMarrónToda mi ropa es marrón.
(All my clothes are brown.)
Brown
(Latin America)
CaféMi perro tiene los ojos café.
(My dog has brown eyes.)
GrayGrisPapá siempre usa pantalones de chándal grises.
(Dad always wears gray sweatpants.)

Spanish Colors to Describe Humans

EnglishSpanishExample
BlondeRubio/aSoy rubia.
(I am blonde.)
BrunetteMoreno/aMi mejor amigo es moreno.
(My best friend is brunette.)
RedheadPelirrojo/aLe gustan las pelirrojas.
(He likes redheads.)
Gray-hairedCanoso/aMi abuela es canosa.
(My grandma is gray-haired.)
TanBronceado/aElla está bronceada después su viaje.
(She is tan after her trip.)
PalePálido/aSoy más pálida en invierno.
(I'm paler in winter.)

Common Spanish Phrases Using Colors

EnglishSpanishExample
To blushPonerse rojo¡Te estás poniendo rojo!
(You’re blushing!)
Adult jokeChiste verdeÉl siempre cuenta chistes verdes.
(He always tells dirty jokes.)
To not have moneyEstar sin blancaQuiero ir al concierto contigo, pero estoy sin blanca.
(I want to go to the concert with you, but I don’t have any money.)
To eat a lotPonerse moradoMe puse morado en la cena anoche. ¡Había tanta comida rica!
(I stuffed my face at the dinner last night. There was so much delicious food!)
Ideal manPríncipe azulSigo esperando a mi príncipe azul.
(I’m still waiting for my prince charming.)
TabloidsPrensa amarillaNo hagas caso a la prensa amarilla.
(Don’t pay attention to the tabloid news.)

How to Use Spanish Colors: Grammar Rules

spanish colors

There are a few things to remember when it comes to the grammar behind Spanish color. Read the rules below and you’ll be well on your way to using Spanish colors with ease.

1. Pay attention to word order.

Like the vast majority of Spanish adjectives, the color words go after the noun that they describe. For example, to say “the blue car,” you would say el coche azul—which literally translates to “the car blue.”

2. Watch out for number and gender.

When using the color words as adjectives, you must make the colors agree with the number and gender of the noun.

In Spanish, every noun has a number (singular or plural) and a gender (masculine or feminine). You can tell if a noun is masculine or feminine, and if it’s singular or plural, by looking at the article that comes before it. 

For example, el sofá (the sofa) is a singular, masculine noun. Las actrices (the actresses) is a plural, feminine noun.

As with all Spanish adjectives, you must make sure that you make the color words agree with the noun they describe.

3. A color that doesn’t end in won’t change its spelling

We talked about how you must make sure that colors agree with the noun they are describing. Generally, this involves switching the final letter from an o to an a.

For example, el libro rojo (the red book) uses the masculine form, rojo. On the other hand, la toalla roja (the red towel) uses the feminine form.

This rule doesn’t always apply as any color that doesn’t end in an o won’t change its spelling.

Some examples are verde (green), azul (blue) and naranja (orange). 

Dealing with singular and plural is much easier. If the noun you’re referring to is plural, simply add an s or es to the end of the color word. You add an s if the color ends in a vowel, and es if the color ends in a consonant. For example, el bolígrafo azul (the blue pen) is singular, and los bolígrafos azules (the blue pens) is plural.

4. You may use ser or estar with color

When describing what color something is, such as in a sentence like “the phone is black,” you almost always use the verb ser.

El teléfono es negro. (The phone is black.)

Las botellas son amarillas. (The bottles are yellow.)

The verb estar (to be) generally refers to temporary states of being. There are rare cases in which you might need to use estar to describe the color of something.

Here’s an example: The sky is fundamentally blue. To express this in Spanish, you would use the verb ser: El cielo es azul (The sky is blue). However, if you wanted to say that today the sky is gray because of an impending rainstorm, you could use the verb estar: El cielo está gris (The sky is gray).

5. Use “de color” to simplify things

Another way to describe color in Spanish is to say that something is de color _______ (The color _______). With this construction, you’ll always use the masculine, singular version of the color—regardless of the noun!

Las camisetas son de color rosa. (The shirts are the color pink.)

6. “Locked in” colors

When writing or speaking in Spanish, whenever you have the combination noun + color + adjective/noun, you need to remember that the color and the adjective/noun parts get “locked in.”

This means that no matter what gender or number the main noun is, the color and the adjective/noun will remain in the masculine singular form!

Here are some examples:

Quiero los pantalones rojo pasión. (I want the scarlet pants.)

Tengo una bufanda rosa oscuro. (I have a dark pink scarf.)

The most commonly used color modifiers in Spanish are the adjectives claro (light) and oscuro (dark):

azul claro (light blue)

azul oscuro (dark blue)

Because of the locked-in rule, both color and adjective become invariable, so no matter the gender or number of the noun, they will remain the same:

el libro azul oscuro (the dark blue book)

la camisa azul oscuro (the dark blue shirt)

los libros azul oscuro (the dark blue books)

las camisas azul oscuro (the dark blue shirts)

7. Colors as nouns

Colors can also act as nouns as well as an adjective.

When a color functions as a noun, it will always be masculine, no matter what!

El rosa es mi color favorito. (Pink is my favorite color.)

Los naranjas te quedan muy bien. (Orange colors suits you very well.)

Finally, if you have a color acting as a noun followed by a noun (like in some of the “locked in” color examples), the color can have a plural form, but the noun/adjective will always remain in its basic form:

No me gustan los azules marino. (I don’t like navy blues.)

Los rosas palo no me quedan bien. (Pale pinks don’t suit me well.)

 

The Spanish colors are simple to learn and use, once you get the hang of the rules.

And they really do change your ability to express yourself in Spanish, whether it be in a supermarket or in a poetry workshop.

So, go forth and add color to your Spanish, and to the world around you!

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