The Colors in German

The Colors in German

Well, what would life be without colors? Yes, your are absolutely right about that – Life would definitely rather sad. Actually, the same happens when learning a language and you don’t know how to express colors. So, don’t let your German learning experience be a sad one and let’s introduce colors in German!

At first, we will introduce some basic vocabulary. After that, we will go into some detail and talk about nuances of colors you don’t use in every day language. Nevertheless, you want to be an expert in German, so I think you don’t mind learning everything about this topic.

The Main Colors in German

So, let’s go right ahead to the most important part of this article, the direct translation of colors in German. In the following (really colorful) list, you can see the most important color vocabulary.

Color in GermanColor in English

Well, here are some examples that could illustrate the use of the names of Colors in German.

  • Diese Tür ist grün. – This door is green.
  • Das Zimmer ist blau getrichen. – The room is painted blue.

Nuances of Colors in German

Of course, as in probably every language in this world, there are a lot of nuances of colors. Indeed, you use them in every-day language!

Colors in GermanColors in French

So, I think it is quite clear how colors in German are formed. Obviously, you just have to add the ending “- lich” to the name of the color you want to describe. Please, keep in mind that vocals like the “a” of “blau” is converted into “ä” in “bläulich”. Here are some examples.

  • “Die Zähne dieses Typen sind gelblich.” – (The teeth of this guy are yellowish.)

Well, these nuances of colors are not so difficult to form. Just keep in mind the rule from above, and there’s no chance of failing. So, there is another way of expressing nuances of colors in German. Here is how it is done…

In order to express nuances of colors in German, especially nuances that describe tones between two colors, you use the name of the first color and add the other name of the color, combined with “-lich”. For example “grün-bläulich”.

Unfortunately, there are even more nuances! Well, you could describe them as names of colors explained by object or other things that posses this color.

The Colors in German

The Colors in German


In the this chart you can see some of them.

Color in GermanColor in English
UltramarinblauNavy blue
HimmelblauSky blue
ApfelgrünApple green
LaubgrünLeaf green
BlutrotBlood red

Here are some useful examples.

  • “Ich liebe das Himmelblau in deinen Augen.” – I love the sky blue in your eyes.

Well, grammatically spoken, this is called an “elision”.  So, what you describe is something “blau”, so, blau wie der Himmel, (blue like the sky), Some expressions, like the ones above, are widely used and have a standard name, but if you have your own poetic mind and you want to transmit the impression of a color in your own way, there is no limitation but the pertinence of your comparison.

So, expressions like the ones you have seen in the table above may transmit a little more than just the color. For example, “blutrot” expresses a really string, nearly dramatic kind of red – although it might just be a normal red color.

Well, last but not least, there is another way of expressing nuances of colors in German. First, you have to learn two words in German:

  1. “Dunkel” – dark
  2. “Hell” – clear

Second, you just have to add the color you want to describe after one of the two expressions. As a result you receive nuances of colors in German like “Dunkelblau” which equals dark blue.

Some Last Words…

Finally, we have reached the end of this article about colors in German. Hopefully, you received a basic idea of how to express colors in German. Well, you might have noticed that it’s not so difficult – you just have to keep in mind these rather simple rules from above. And if you learn your vocabulary, mastering colors in German should be not problem for you anymore!

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