Language tip of the week: colour

Posted by on November 08, 2011

In this weekly microblog, we bring to English language learners more useful content from the Macmillan Dictionary. These tips are based on areas of English (e.g. spelling, grammar, collocation, synonyms, etc) which learners often find difficult.

This week’s language tip helps with talking about colour.

general
shade one of the different types of a particular colour, especially when describing how dark or light it is: a deep shade of red ♦ subtle shades of blue and green
tone one of the different types of a particular colour: a delicate pink tone ♦ eye shadow in tones of green and brown
-ish used with colours to make adjectives describing things that looks a bit like that colour: reddish hair
dark colours
dark used for describing colours that look more like black than like white: dark green trousers ♦ I think the colour on the walls is far too dark.
deep used for describing dark colours, especially when they look attractive: lovely deep blue eyes
rich used for describing dark colours that look beautiful and expensive: rich brown velvet
sombre dark in a way that seems suitable for a serious occasion or use: The men were wearing sombre suits and black ties.
bright colours
bright strong and noticeable: bright yellow paint
vibrant bright in a way that looks exciting: curtains in vibrant shades of red
colourful brightly coloured, or having a lot of bright colours: wonderfully colourful saris
loud bright in a way that you think looks silly or ugly: He tends to wear silk shirts and loud ties.
gaudy very brightly coloured, especially in a way that you think shows bad taste: Look at those gaudy purple sunglasses!
garish very brightly coloured, especially in a way that you think does not look attractive: garish reds and bright yellows
pale colours
pale like white with a small amount of a colour mixed in: pale grey feathers
light pale rather than dark: Light colours work best in north-facing rooms. ♦ a light blue shirt
pastel pale in a soft and attractive way: used also as a noun referring to a pastel colour or something of such a colour: summer dresses in pastel shades ♦ She often wears pastels. ♦ pastel pink
faded used for describing something that is pale because it has been washed a lot or because it has been affected by light or the sun: faded blue jeans ♦ The paintwork was faded in places.

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