Everyone knows the primary colors of red, yellow, and blue, as well as the colors you can make with them, such as orange, green, and purple. Most people also know more interesting or unusual colors like forest green, indigo, burnt orange, or fuchsia. But there are thousands of possibilities, and some of them have weird, funny, or downright silly color names that might just describe that particular shade perfectly.
RGB 0, 20, 168
A color that few people have ever heard of, Zaffre is a deep, brilliant blue. The name comes from the Italian word zaffera, which itself came from the Latin word for sapphire, and the color does resemble that of the bright blue gem. Zaffre is actually a very specific color, however. It was an ancient pigment produced when cobalt ore was burned in a furnace.
RGB 204, 153, 17
In 1897, Australien was listed as a new and popular color for ladies’ dresses. This deep, slightly dark sandy orange color was meant to mimic the reddish-brown sands of the Australian outback, and the subtle yet striking color became a favorite in the late Victorian age.
3. Drunk-Tank Pink
RGB 255, 145, 175
When studies were performed linking color and human temperament and mood, it was found that a bright, almost bubblegum pink color helped to keep people calm and peaceful. This color, also known as Baker-Miller pink, is more commonly referred to as Drunk-Tank Pink since it is often used in holding cells or prisons in order to keep prisoners calm and discourage violent or disruptive behaviors.
RGB 128, 24, 24
Falu, which is a dark, rich red, is named for the Falun copper mines in Sweden. For many centuries, the surrounding area used the waste materials from the mining industry to create a particular paint, designed to mimic the red of bricks. The materials, which are rich in iron, give the paint its striking deep red color. Falu paint also helped to preserve wood, so it became incredibly popular, and many rural homes in Sweden are still painted this color.
5. Drake’s Neck Green
Drake’s Neck Green
RGB 8, 176, 124
If you’ve ever looked at a male mallard duck’s neck, you may have noticed the deep emerald green feathers there. Male mallards, also known as drakes, display these brilliant colors to attract mates, and it’s from these feathers that Drake’s Neck Green gets its name. This green color often has a slight iridescence to it.
RGB 227, 37, 107
In 1993, Crayola held a Name the New Colors contest, and five-year-old Laura Bartolomei-Hill came up with a winner in Razzmatazz. This color is a reddish-pink, similar to rose but with a bit more magenta.
7. Caput Mortuum
RGB 89, 39, 32
Translated from Latin, the name of this color means ‘dead head’ or ‘worthless remains.’ The color comes from the term for oxidized rust, which is a deep, dark brown with red and purple undertones. Caput Mortuum was once very popular for use in portrait painting, and it has remained a beloved oil paint color throughout the years.
8. Goose Turd Green
Goose Turd Green
RGB 78, 168, 9
In Elizabethan England, dressmakers wanted a new way to attract business. They decided to give strange and interesting names to colors in order to make dress buying feel like more of an adventure. One of the weirdest names to come out of the experiment was Goose Turd Green, which is, as the name suggested, a pale yellow-green color reminiscent of goose poop. Whether the silly name actually increased dress sales is unknown, but the color name stuck and is still in use today.
9. Lusty Gallant
RGB 253, 127, 79
Originally the name of a dance popular during Tudor England, Lusty Gallant is a light reddish-pink color, close to coral in hue. The name most likely became attached to the color by dressmakers hoping to increase sales and entice buyers by using a new and exciting color name.
RGB 96, 130, 182
Glaucous is a softer blue color, similar to periwinkle but with less purple. The word, which was first used in the late 1600s, can also refer to the dusty pale blue coating sometimes found on fruits such as plums and grapes.
11. Milk and Water
Milk and Water
RGB 246, 246, 255
First recorded in the 1500s and used to describe dress or costume colors during Elizabethan England, milk and water is a white color with a bluish tint.
RGB 148, 119, 6
Although this particular color isn’t named after vomit, it is a vomit-like shade of brown. The color was first mentioned in a Shakespeare play in which the bard writes of a puke stocking. In this case, the word puke refers to a particular fabric made of wool. Today, the name is still used for a particular shade of dark, sandy brown.
RGB 252, 203, 79
Many people are familiar with the color ginger, which is a dark yellowish-orange. Gingerline is slightly different and was first described as a dark reddish-purple or brown. Today, some people use it to describe a color closer to a dark mustard, while others consider Gingerline to be an even lighter yellow-orange.
If you liked these color names, you’re going to love the worst named colors of all time.
Want more? Here’s a list of colors with 440 color names and hex codes.