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Greek Colors and Hues: All You Need to Talk About Colors in Greek

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When you start learning a new language, you learn how to talk about colors pretty early on. That happens not only because the vocabulary for colors is easy to master, but also because colors are a very important part of our vocabulary. Same goes for Greek colors!

Learning the specific words for each color is not enough, though. You must learn how to describe them or use them to describe other objects, how to use them in a sentence, how to express what color your hair is.

Read on and you will become a Greek color expert in no time!

The Word Color in Greek

Before with begin with the names of the different colors, we must first learn how to say the word “color” in Greek. The answer is:

  • το χρώμα /’xro-ma/ = color
  • τα χρώματα /’xro-ma-ta/ = colors

The pronunciation can be tricky if you haven’t learnt the letter /χ/ yet. Imagine the “h” in “house”, but way more intense! Start out with the fundamentals of Greek pronunciation, as it is the fastest way to learn Greek.

The Greek Colors

Let’s start with the basic colors and the most common secondary colors. You will notice that many names are directly derived from their French equivalents.

Greek Primary Colors

  • Κόκκινο = Red
  • Κίτρινο = Yellow
  • Μπλε = Blue (from French bleu)

Greek Secondary Colors

  • Καφέ = Brown (from French café)
  • Μωβ / Μοβ = Purple (from French mauve)
  • Ροζ = Pink (from French rose)
  • Πορτοκαλί = Orange
  • Πράσινο = Green

The Standards

  • Μαύρο = Black
  • Λευκό / Άσπρο = White
  • Γκρι = Gray (from French gris)

More Greek Colors and Shades

Yet the world is even more colorful, and it cannot be expressed solely through the aforementioned colors. There are literally hundreds of different hues and shades that can be used to describe our surroundings.

Shades That Do Not Translate

There are many shades that do not translate into Greek. Instead, their French counterparts are used and transcribed using the Greek alphabet or they are very close to said counterparts. Some of these include:

  • Αζούρ = Azur
  • Βεραμάν = Vert amande, but used for blue-green or teal
  • Κρεμ = Crème
  • Λιλά = Lilas, lilac
  • Μπεζ = Beige
  • Μπλε ελεκτρίκ = Bleu électrique, electric blue
  • Μπλε μαρέν = Bleu marine, navy blue
  • Μπορντώ = Bordeaux, merlot red
  • Πετρόλ = Bleu Petrol, petrol blue
  • Σιέλ = Bleu ciel, sky blue; in Greek it is also called Γαλάζιο and Θαλασσί
  • Σομόν = Saumon, salmon
  • Τιρκουάζ = Turquoise
  • Φούξια = Fuchsia

Fruit and Plant Shades

Greek, like many other languages, uses the names of different fruits, vegetables, and plants to describe colors. Some of them are:

  • Βερικοκί = Apricot
  • Βιολετί = Violet
  • Βυσσινί = Sour cherry; in fact, crimson
  • Δαμασκηνί = Plum
  • Κυπαρισσί = Cypress green
  • Λαδί = Olive
  • Λαχανί = Cabbage; in fact, lime
  • Λεμονί = Lemon
  • Μανταρινί = Tangerine
  • Μελιτζανί = Aubergine
  • Ροδακινί = Peach
  • Σοκολατί = Chocolate

If you noticed a pattern, you are correct! Color names are typically formed by combining the root of a noun with the suffix –ί (see example 1). If the word already ends in , simply move the accent mark to the last syllable (see example 2).

For example:

  1. ροδάκιν – ο (peach, fruit) 🡪 ροδακιν – ί (peach, color)
  2. λεμόν – ι (lemon, fruit) 🡪 λεμον – ί (lemon, color)

This is a very useful rule because you can always create a new color by using any noun, including humorous names!

Metal Hues

Finally, let’s check out the words for the three most popular metal hues:

  • Χρυσό = Gold
  • Ασημί = Silver
  • Χάλκινο / Μπρονζέ = Bronze

EXTRA fact: The word for rainbow in Greek is “ουράνιο τόξο” which literally translates to “sky bow”.

Greek Colors and Grammar

Using Greek colors in a sentence is pretty straightforward – they function as any other adjective. Let’s see how you can use Greek colors in a sentence.

You Can Use Colors as Adjectives

When we want to say that something is a specific color, then we use the Greek verb “to be”, είναι.

For instance:

  • Η καρέκλα είναι κίτρινη (The chair is yellow).
  • Εγώ είμαι μπλε (I’m blue).

Colors are used as adjectives, so grammatical agreement is important. This means that the color-adjective’s suffixes should be of the same grammatical gender and number as the noun they describe.

Keep in mind that Greek adjectives must adhere to agreement rules regardless of whether they appear before or after the noun.

For instance:

  • Η μπλούζα είναι πράσινη (sing. female) – The blouse is green
  • Η πράσινη μπλούζα (sing. female) – The green blouse
  • Οι μπλούζες είναι πράσινες (pl. female) – The blouses are green
  • Οι πράσινες μπλούζες (pl. female) – The green blouses
  • Ο κόκκινος ήλιος (sing. male) – The red sun
  • Το κόκκινο ποδήλατο (sing. neutral) – The red bicycle
  • Οι άσπροι φορτιστές (pl. male) – The white chargers
  • Τα μαύρα παπούτσια (pl. neutral) – The black shoes

But Most Greek Colors Keep the Same Form

However, as previously discussed, most Greek colors are derived from French or English. These loan words, which retain the same form as the original French or English word, do not follow the Greek adjective rules. So, we have:

  • Η μωβ τσάντα – The purple bag
  • Ο ροζ σάκος – The pink sack
  • Τα καφέ παπούτσια – The brown shoes

This also applies to Greek color names ending in -ί. Since is a suffix by itself and it has purposefully been added to the root to signify semantically the [color], it cannot be replaced with common adjective suffixes. Thus, they are used as they are, regardless of the noun they describe:

  • Το πορτοκαλί παντελόνι – The orange trousers
  • Τα δαμασκηνί γυαλιά – The plum glasses
  • Η λαχανί πετσέτα – The lime towel


The only colors that adhere to the grammatical adjective rules are:

  • κόκκινος-η-ο (red)
  • κίτρινος-η-ο (yellow)
  • πράσινος-η-ο (green)
  • λευκός/άσπρος-η-ο (white)
  • μαύρος-η-ο (black)
  • χρυσός-η-ο (gold)

How to Express Your Favorite Color in Greek

Favorite colors make for an excellent small talk topic and are discussed by people of all ages, from toddlers to the elderly. How would you express your favorite color in Greek?

You need to be familiar with two sentences: a question and an answer. They are as follows:

  • Ποιο είναι το αγαπημένο σου χρώμα; (What is your favorite color?)
  • Το αγαπημένο μου χρώμα είναι το μωβ. (My favorite color is purple.)

Remember that, when colors are not used to describe an object, their grammatical gender is neutral. Thus, you should use the article το before them.

Other phrases you can use to express your chromatic preferences are:

  • Μου αρέσει το κόκκινο (I like red)
  • Αγαπώ/λατρεύω το μαύρο (I love/adore black)
  • Δε μου αρέσει το λαχανί… (I don’t like lime)
  • προτιμώ το κυπαρισσί. (I prefer cypress green)
  • Σιχαίνομαι το κίτρινο. (I hate yellow)

Describing Greek Colors

I know, I know, I’ve already written about many more colors that you may need to know – but we’re not done just yet!

Sometimes, describing something as “blue” doesn’t cut it. We need something more, something that we might not be able to express with the word for a specific shade – or we have forgotten the word for the specific shade. In that case, the following words can be used to further describe color:

  • Σκούρο = Dark
  • Ανοικτό = Light
  • Θερμό = Warm (for tone)
  • Ψυχρό = Cool (for tone)
  • Θαμπό = Dull
  • Παστέλ = Pastel
  • Γυαλιστερό = Shiny
  • Ματ = Matte
  • Διάφανο = Transparent
  • Οπάκ = Opaque

Furthermore, depending on whether there is only one color or multiple colors in something, you can describe it as:

  • Μονόχρωμο = Monochromatic
  • Πολύχρωμο = Colorful

Using Greek Colors to Describe Characteristics

Aside from describing objects, we typically use color naming to describe a person’s features. However, as in many languages, the names are not the same as for regular colors. Skin, eye, and hair colors are described in Greek using words other than those used to describe regular colors.

Hair Colors in Greek | Χρώμα μαλλιών

  • Μαύρο = Black
  • Καστανό = Brunette
  • Καστανοκόκκινο = Dark ginger (brown and red)
  • Ξανθό = Blonde

Other usual words for hair color:

  • Μελαχρινό = a word to describe black and dark brown hair
  • Πυρόξανθο = light ginger; a combination of fire + blonde
  • Χαλκοκόκκινο = ginger
  • Κόκκινο = red
  • Κορακί = raven
  • Σαντρέ = cool brown or blonde
  • Πλατινέ = platinum blonde

While regular color names are rarely used to describe hair, and when they are used, they are mostly to describe vivids – blue, green, purple, etc. – you can easily hear words like δαμασκηνί (plum), βιολετί (violet), μελιτζανί (aubergine), σοκολατί (chocolate) be used to describe brown and red hair shades.

You should also exercise caution when using the adjective in conjunction with the noun, as the word for hair in Greek can be used in both singular and plural forms. For example, the sentences below both mean “my hair is black”:

  • Το μαλλί μου είναι μαύρο
  • Τα μαλλιά μου είναι μαύρα

Skin Colors in Greek | Χρώμα δέρματος

  • Λευκό = White
  • Mεσογειακό / Μελαχρινό = Mediterranean Brown(-ish)
  • Μελαμψό = Brown
  • Μαύρο = Black

Black and white are used exactly like their corresponding colors, but καφέ (brown) is almost never used to describe brown skin or brown hair, and very rarely used to describe brown eyes. The word καφέ is mostly reserved for objects.

Note: the word μελαχρινό can be used either for skin or hair, but it does not necessarily mean that someone who is μελαχρινός has both brown skin and hair; you can be, for instance, μελαχρινός in terms of hair but have fair skin and vice versa.

Eye Colors in Greek | Χρώμα ματιών

  • Μαύρα = Black
  • Καστανά = Brown
  • Πράσινα = Green
  • Μπλε = Blue
  • Καστανοπράσινα = Hazel (lit. brown and green)
  • Λαδί = Olive
  • Μελί = Honey

Talking About Physical Features in Greek

I have…

When talking about skin, hair and eyes in Greek, we use the verb έχω (have) to describe them. The most common syntactic formulation is:

(name/pronoun) + έχω (conj.) + color + body part

Two notes before the examples:

  1. Make sure everything agrees in number and gender.
  2. Greek nouns have articles, but the articles should not be used when describing characteristics.


  • Έχω κόκκινα μαλλιά = I have red hair.
  • Έχουμε μαύρο δέρμα = We have black skin.
  • Η αδερφή μου έχει καστανά μάτια = My sister has brown eyes.

My hair is…

We can also use the verb είμαι (to be) in a different syntactic formulation:

article + body part + possessive pronoun + έιμαι (conj.) + color

In this formulation, the article before the noun is required.


  • Τα μαλλιά σου είναι ξανθά = Your hair is blonde
  • Το δέρμα της Μαρίας είναι μελαμψό = Maria’s skin is brown
  • Τα μάτια τους είναι μπλε = Their eyes are blue

I am…

Finally, as in most languages, you can describe yourself directly using (certain) descriptions and the verb to be.

(name/pronoun) + έιμαι (conj.) + color

This only works with:

  1. All skin colors
    1. Μαύρο: Είμαι μαύρος (I am black)
    2. Λευκό: Είμαστε λευκές (We are white – fem.)
    3. Μελαμψό, κλπ.: Η μαμά μου είναι μελαμψή (My mom is brown)
  2. The following hair colors
    1. Μελαχρινό: Είμαι μελαχρινός (I am dark-haired)
    2. Ξανθό: Ο πατέρας μου είναι ξανθός (My father is blond)
    3. Καστανό: Είσαι καστανή (You are a brunette)

It does not work with the rest of the hair colors, nor the colors of the eyes.

However, you can use the rest of the hair color names together with -μάλλης/-μάλλα to create an adjective -haired.

For example:

  • Είμαι μαυρομάλλα = I am black-haired
  • Ο αδερφός μου είναι κοκκινομάλλης = My brother is red-haired

Greek Colors – Conclusion

That was a lot of new vocabulary pertaining to greek colors and descriptions of color. I hope this post helped you describe your favorite couch or decide what color to dye your hair when you visit Greece.

And remember – if all that seems a lot, use Clozemaster to practice all the vocabulary you have already learned. By filling the gaps in a selection of Greek sentences with Greek color names in context, you will certainly be ready to handle every hue and shade from now on!

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