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French Color Names – Everything You Need To Know

French Color Names – Everything You Need To Know

In a nutshell, the French color names are: Rouge (red), jaune (yellow), bleu (blue), vert (green), orange (orange) blanc (white), noir (black) and gris (gray). Keep reading to learn the gender agreement (masculine vs. feminine) rules for French colors as well as how to describe objects with colors in French.

French Colors

What are the names of colors in French?

These are the names of the most common colors in French. Some colors have two pronunciations. This is due to the masculine vs. feminine gender agreement, which we’ll explain below.

French Color Table

French colors: Grammatical rules

Gender agreement (masculine vs. feminine) for colors

As colors are adjectives they must match the gender and number of the noun they’re describing. For example, un pantalon gris (gray pants) and une chemise grise (gray shirt). The following table show both gender and number agreement for commonly used French colors.

EnglishMasculine singularFeminine singularMasculine pluralFeminine plural
blacknoir noirenoirsnoires
bluebleubleue bleus bleues
brownmarron marronmarronmarron
dark bluebleu foncé bleu foncée bleu foncésbleu foncées
greenvertvertevertsvertes
greygris grisegrisgrises
light bluebleu clair bleu clairebleu clairesbleu claires
orangeorange orangeorangeorange
pinkrose roserosesroses
purplevioletviolettevioletsviolettes
redrouge rougerougesrouges
whiteblanc blancheblancsblanches
yellowjaune jaunejaunesjaunes

Gender agreement notes

The following is an example of basic gender agreement for a color that ends in a consonant. Our two examples are vert for green and noir for black. To make each of them feminine, simply add an -e.

  • un vélo vert, une voiture verte a green bike, a green car
  • un panetlon noir, une chemise noire black pants, a black shirt

If a color ends in the letter -e in both the masculine and feminine forms, there’s nothing to change. For example we’re using jaune (yellow). Since it ends in an -e, both the masculine and feminine forms are the same.

  • un chemisier jaune, une jupe jaune a yellow blouse, a yellow skirt

The rules for the color white are particular. Normally, the French reading rules dictate that if a word ends in CaReFuL, the CRF and L get pronounced. However, for the masculine form of white, blanc, the -c is silent.

  • un cheval blanc a white horse (don’t say the -c on blanc!)
  • une voiture blanche a white car

The colors marron (brown) and orange (orange) are invariable. This means that they’re the same for all the forms. For example:

  • une chemise orange, des chemises orange orange shirt, orange shirts
  • une maison marron, des maisons marrons brown house, brown houses

The words clair and foncé can be added to colors mean light and dark, respectively. Notice that they aren’t hyphenated like in English. For example:

  • un chapeau vert foncé a dark-green hat
  • un costume bleu claire a light-blue suit
A blue car (une voiture bleu); A yellow bike (un vélo jaune).

Colors can also be nuanced with elements from nature. Here are some examples:

  • jaune citron yellow lemon
  • rouge framboise red rasberry
  • bleu nuit night blue
  • bleu turquoise blue turquoise
  • gris souris grey mouse

These kinds of color adjectives don’t require gender or number agreement. For example:

  • des lunettes gris souris grey glasses
  • une veste bleu turquoise a blue-turquoise jacket

Finally, the words vif and pale can be added to colors to express bright and light, respectively. For example:

  • rose vif bright pink
  • vert pâle light green
A red house (une maison rouge); A pink house (une maison rose).

Video lesson

My friend Dylane does an amazing job explaining the French colors at a slightly more advanced level. Dylane is a native speaker and in this lesson she’ll show you precisely how to use the names for French colors in complete sentences. A complete explanation and exercises for Dylane’s lesson can be found on pp. 61-62 of her book, The Complete French Vocabulary Couse.

French colors list in detail

The following is an extensive list of lesser known and more specific colors. This list will come in very handy for artists and professionals working in the fashion industry.

  • amethyst améthyste
  • apple green pomme
  • apricot colored abricot
  • azure, sky blue azur
  • black and white pie
  • bright yellow topaze
  • bright yellow serin
  • brown-red puce
  • burgundy lie-de-vin
  • caramel-colored caramel
  • carmine red, crimson carmin
  • celadon céladon
  • champagne champagne
  • charcoal grey gris anthracite
  • cherry red cerise
  • chestnut-brown châtaigne
  • chocolate brown chocolat
  • cobalt blue cobalt
  • copper-colored cuivré
  • coral corail
  • cream-colored crème
  • cyclamen cyclamen
  • daffodil yellow jonquille
  • dark blue bleu foncé
  • dark brown tête-de-nègre
  • dark green cul-de-bouteille
  • dark green pastèque
  • dark orange tango
  • ebony ébène
  • emerald-green émeraude
  • flesh-colored chair
  • garnet-colored grenat
  • golden doré
  • gray-blue ardoise
  • green-yellow réséda
  • greeny-yellow caca d’oie
  • greyish-brown bistre
  • hazel, nut-brown noisette
  • indigo-blue bleu indigo
  • iridescent gorge de pigeon
  • ivory ivoire
  • jade green jade
  • khaki kaki
  • lavender lavande
  • lemon-yellow citron
  • light blue bleu clair
  • light brown café-au-lait
  • light yellow bulle
  • light yellow isabelline isabelle
  • lime green tilleul
  • lovat green vert-de-gris
  • mahogany acajou
  • mother of pearl nacre
  • mouse gray souris
  • muli-colored multicolore
  • mustard yellow moutarde
  • navy blue outremer
  • olive green olive
  • orangey-red, russet capucine
  • periwinkle pervenche
  • petrol blue pétrole
  • pistachio green pistache
  • plum aubergine
  • plum-colored prune
  • poppy red, dark red ponceau, coquelicot
  • purple violet
  • purple-red opéra
  • putty-colored mastic
  • rainbow-colored arc-en-ciel
  • raspberry pink framboise
  • red-brown brique
  • red-maroon sang-de-bœuf
  • russet, yellowish brown feuille-morte
  • rust-colored rouille
  • saffron, saffron-yellow safran
  • salmon pink saumon
  • salt and pepper poivre et sel
  • sapphire blue saphir
  • sepia sépia
  • silver argenté
  • straw-colored paille
  • tobacco-brown tabac
  • turquoise turquoise
  • vermilion, bright red vermillon
  • yellow ocher ocre jaune
  • yellow ochre chamois
  • yellow-green absinthe

French colors – conclusion

Félicitations! Congratulations! Now you’re mastered the French colors! Now it’s time to take a look at the French numbers 1-100. Our post offers some great tips for mastering the tricky high numbers. Another logical lesson to read next is our page explaining French adjectives!

Related lessons:

Download PDF Lesson

More resources:

See all French vocabulary lists

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David Issokson

David Issokson is a lifelong language enthusiast. His head is swimming with words and sounds as he speaks over six languages. Of all the languages he speaks, he's the most passionate about French! David has helped hundreds of students to improve their French in his private online lessons. When procrastinating working on FrenchLearner, David enjoys his time skiing and hiking in Teton Valley, Idaho.

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