Easy French Vocabulary Guide for Beginners Practicing Everyday Conversations: [Colors]

french-colors-vocabulary-list

This section deals with the French words and vocabulary referring to colors

In French, most colors work like adjectives, that is, they normally agree in gender and number with the noun they modify (more on that at the end of this lesson). This is a particularly important thing to remember, especially for those whose primary language simply disregard this aspect (bonjour, my English speaking friends).

Of course, as always, there are some exceptions. But you will find a nice list of formulas further down below to help you understand when to agree French colors and when not to.

Quick trivia question: What is the French flag color pattern? (post your answers below in the comment field)

    • 1. Blue - Red- White
      2. Red - White - Blue
      3. Blue - White - Red
      4. White - Red - Blue

Read on to discover the most common French color words and vocabulary.

1. Common Color Names

french-colors

une couleur

Color

Un monde sans couleurs serait ennuyeux./ A world with no color would be dull.

french-red-color-vocabulary-list-rouge

1. rouge

Red

Un crayon de couleur rouge./ A red colored pencil!

french-blue-color-vocabulary-list-bleu

2. bleu/bleue

Blue

Ce stylo est bleu./ This pen is blue.

french-purple-color-vocabulary-list-violet

3. violet/violette

Purple; Violet

Les violettes sont-elles violettes?/ Are violets (flowers) purple?

french-green-color-vocabulary-list-vert

4. vert/verte

Green

Le gazon est vert./ The lawn is green.

french-yellow-color-vocabulary-list-jaune

5. jaune

Yellow

Des fleurs jaunes./ (Some) yellow flowers.

french-brown-color-vocabulary-list-marron

6. marron

Brown

Je porte des chaussures marron./ I'm wearing brown shoes.

french-maroon-color-vocabulary-list-bordeaux

7. bordeaux

Maroon

Mes rideaux sont bordeaux./ My curtains are maroon.

french-pink-color-vocabulary-list-rose

8. rose

Pink

J'aime la couleur rose./ I like the color pink.

french-orange-color-vocabulary-list

9. orange

Orange

A qui sont ces chemises orange?/ Whose orange shirts are these?

french-beige-color-vocabulary-list

10. beige

Beige

Cette jupe beige me plaît./ I like this beige dress.

french-black-color-vocabulary-list-black

11. noir/ noire

Black

Ce costume noir est élégant./ This black suit is elegant.

french-white-color-vocabulary-list-white

12. blanc/ blanche

White

Ces robes blanches me plaisent./ I like these white dresses.

french-white-color-vocabulary-list-white

13. gris/ grise

Grey; Gray

Je vois des oiseaux dans le ciel gris./ I (can) see birds in the grey sky.

2. Invariable French Color Adjectives

2.1 Compound adjectives for "Light" colors

french-sky-light-blue-color-vocabulary-list-bleu-ciel-clair

14.

bleu clair/ciel

Light blue; Sky blue

Je mettrai ma robe bleu ciel pour la soirée./ I'll put on the sky blue dress for the party.

french-light-green-color-vocabulary-list-vert-clair

15.

vert clair

Light green

Ces tissus vert clair sont doux./ These light green fabrics are soft.

french-light-pink-color-vocabulary-list-rose-clair

16.

rose clair

Light pink

Les murs rose clair de cette chambre sont bien décorés./ The light pink walls of this room are well decorated.

french-light-gray-color-vocabulary-list-gris-clair

17.

gris clair

Light gray

Ces pantalons gris clair sont trop longs./ These light gray pants are too long.

2.2 Compound adjectives for "Dark" colors

french-dark-blue-color-vocabulary-list-bleu-foncé

18.

bleu foncé

Dark blue

Des crayons de couleur bleu foncé./ Dark blue colored pencils.

french-dark-green-color-vocabulary-list-vert-foncé

19.

vert foncé

Dark green

La couleur vert foncé m'apaise./ The color dark blue soothes me.

french-dark-pink-color-vocabulary-list-rose-foncé

20.

rose foncé

Dark pink

Cette voiture rose foncé est hideuse./ This dark pink car is ugly.

french-dark-gray-color-vocabulary-list-gris-foncé

21.

gris foncé

Dark gray

Le gris foncé est ma couleur préférée./ Dark gray is my favorite color.

2.3 Miscelleaneous compound color adjectives

french-blood-red-color-vocabulary-list-rouge-sang

22. rouge sang

Blood red

Les teintes rouge sang de ce tableau sont vives./ The blood red hues in this painting are vibrant.

french-navy-blue-color-vocabulary-list-bleu-marine

23. bleu marine

Navy blue; Dark blue

J'ai acheté deux chemises bleu marine./ I bought two navy bleu shirts.

2.4 Metal- & gem-based color adjectives

french-silver-color-vocabulary-list-argent

24. argent

Silver

Les radiateurs dans ma chambre sont peints argent./ There are two silver car in the garage.

french-gold-color-vocabulary-list-or

25. or

Gold

Ces musiciens portent des ceintures or./ These musicians are wearing gold-colored belts.

french-bronze-color-vocabulary-list

26. bronze

Bronze

Les murs bronze de la prison sont froids./ The prison's bronze-colored walls are cold.

french-emerald-green-color-vocabulary-list-émeraude

27.

émeraude

Emerald green

Vos yeux émeraude me fascinent./ Your emerald green eyes fascinate me.

french-turquoise-color-vocabulary-list

28. turquoise

Turquoise

Ces robes turquoise vous vont bien./ These turquoise dresses fit you nicely.

french-ruby-red-color-vocabulary-list-rubis

29.

rubis

Ruby red

Vos chaussures rubis sont belles./ Your ruby red shoes are pretty.

french-copper-color-vocabulary-list-cuivre

30.

cuivre

Copper

Une belle teinte cuivre./ A nice copper hue.

french-rust-colored-vocabulary-list-rouille

31.

rouille

Rust-colored

La teinte rouille dans cette peinture est captivante./ The rust-colored hue in this painting is captivating.

french-sapphire-blue-color-vocabulary-list-saphir

32.

saphir

Sapphire-blue

La princesse avait des yeux saphir./ The princess had sapphire-blue eyes.

2.5 Flower- and fruit-based color adjectives

french-eggplant-color-vocabulary-list-aubergine

33.

aubergine

Plum

Tes cheuveux fantaisistes ont une belle teinte aubergine./ Your fancy hair has a nice plum hue.

french-lilac-color-vocabulary-list-lilas

34. lilas

Lilac

J'ai acheté deux jupes lilas./ I bought two lilac dresses.

french-cherry-red-color-vocabulary-list-cerise

35.

cerise

Cherry red

Vos jupes cerise ont un éclat vif./ Your cherry red skirts have a bright shine.

french-lemon-yellow-color-vocabulary-list-citron

36. citron

Lemon yellow

Cette robe citron vous ira bien en été./ This lemon yellow dress will fit you nicely in summer.

french-lavender-color-vocabulary-list-lavande

37. lavande

Lavender

Une fille aux yeux lavande./ A girl with lavender eyes.

french-orange-color-vocabulary-list

38. orange

Orange

Les oranges sont orange./ Oranges are orange.

french-brown-color-vocabulary-list-marron

39. marron

Brown

Mes chaussures marron sont sales./ My brown shoes are dirty.

french-hazel-color-vocabulary-list-noisette

40. noisette

Hazel

J'aime vos yeux noisette./ I like your hazel eyes.

french-apple-green-color-vocabulary-list-vert-pomme

41. vert pomme

Apple green

Les meubles vert pomme du salon sont horribles. / The apple green furniture in the living room is horrible.

2.6 Food-related nouns used as color adjectives

french-cholate-brown-color-vocabulary-list-chocolat

42. chocolat

Chocolate-brown

Ces costumes chocolat sont magnifiques./ These chocolate-brown suits look great.

french-coffee-colored-vocabulary-list-café

43. café

Coffee-colored

J'aime tes cheveux café./ I like your coffee-colored hair.

french-café-au-lait-color-vocabulary-list

44. café au lait

Café-au-lait

Ma cicatrice a maintenant une couleur café au lait./ My scar now has a cafe-au-lait couleur.

french-caraml-color-vocabulary

45. caramel

Caramel

Vos beaux yeux caramel m'ont séduit./ Your caramel eyes charmed me.

3. Explanations on Color Agreement Rules

3.1 Basic agreement rule for "simple" color adjectives 

In French, color adjectives are normally variable in form, i.e., these color adjectives will automatically agree in number and gender with the noun they modify. Below, I'm giving you 3 examples to demonstrate this rule.

Ex.1: Diane a acheté deux robes vertes. / Diane bought two green dresses.
The French noun "robes" used here is feminine-plural. Therefore, the color adjective "vertes" also inherits the gender mark (-e) of the  feminine and its plural number (-s).

Ex.2: Diane veut acheter deux jupes blanches. / Diane wants to buy two white dresses.
The French noun "jupes" here is feminine-plural. Therefore, the color adjective "blanches" also inherits the gender mark (-e) of the  feminine and its plural number (-s).

Ex.3: Les deux jeans bleus de Diane sont propres. / Diane's two blue jeans are clean.
The French noun "jeans" employed above is masculine-plural. Therefore, the color adjective "bleus" also inherits the masculine gender (by default) and its plural number (-s).

3.2 Agreement rule for compound color adjectives 

Color adjectives are invariable if they are compound adjectives. If you're wondering what a compound color adjective is, here is a simple definition: A compound color adjective is two or more adjectives put together to denote a single color: For example,  "bleu foncé" / "vert pomme"/ "bleu ciel" are compound color adjectives denoting respectively, "dark blue", / "green apple"/ "sky blue".

Ex.1: J'aime tes trois jupes vert foncé. / I like your three dark pink skirts.
Although the noun "jupes" employed here is feminine-plural, the compound color adjective "vert foncé" remains masculine-singular (the default gender and number in French).

Ex.2: J'ai acheté deux jeans bleu clair hier./ I bought two light blue jeans yesterday.
The French noun "jeans" used here is masculine-plural. However the compound color adjective "bleu clair" remains invariable (masculine-singular, the default gender and number in French).

Ex.3: Tes deux Ferrari rouge sang sont superbes./ Your two blood red Ferraris are superbe.
The noun "Ferrari" used here is feminine-plural. However the compound color adjective "rouge sang" remains invariable (masculine-singular, the default gender and number in French).
Note: In French, most proper nouns (e.g. "Ferrari") remain singular (no -s) even when used in plural.

Notes:
1. When a compound color adjective is made of two colors, they should be separated by a hyphen. For example, des chemises bleu-vert / Blue and green shirts. (Please note that in this case each shirt has both blue and green in it. If some shirts were green and some others were blue, or red, etc, then an agreement in gender and number will be necessary: "des chemises bleues, vertes")

2. When a compound color adjective is made of a color and a noun, no hyphen is need. For example, "des chemises bleu clair" / Sky blue shirts..

3.3 Agreement rule for nouns used as color adjectives

Color adjectives are invariable if they are nouns used as adjectives. You may not know it yet, but some of the colors you use in French are actually nouns (things) employed as color adjectives. For example, the colors "orange" and "marron" are actually derived from the orange fruit (orange in French) and chestnut fruit (marron in French). Many more nouns are used as color adjectives, in which case they are invariable. (See the list above to a more comprehensive list.)

Ex.1: J'admire tes beaux yeux café. / I admire your pretty coffee-colored eyes.
Although the noun "yeux" (from oeil [eye]) is employed here as masculine-plural, the color adjective "café" doesn't change in number (masculine-singular) because it is a noun used a color adjective.

Ex.2: Tes rideaux caramel sont beaux./ Your caramel curtains are pretty.
The French noun "rideaux" used here is masculine-plural. However the color adjective "caramel" remains invariable (masculine-singular) because it is a noun used a color adjective.

Notes [Exceptions]: Some nouns used as color adjectives will vary in gender and number, in which case they are an exception to the rule stated above. The nouns écarlate (scarlet), mauve (mallow), rose (rose), fauve (wild animal) are invariable when used as color adjectives.


By now, you should have a pretty clear idea on how to correctly use of colors in the French language. I hope you will find the above list of French colors very comprehensive. 

New! Comments

Have a say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.

Contact Us

Japan's Mobile

81-050-5539-0644

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Subject

Your Message

Opening Times

24/7