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Is burgundy maroon or purple?

Burgundy, maroon, and purple are all rich, deep shades that look similar at first glance. But there are some key differences between these dark red and purple hues. In this article, we’ll take a close look at the definitions of burgundy, maroon, and purple, examine how they compare in terms of hue, tone, and shade, and provide tips on how to tell them apart.

Defining Burgundy

Burgundy is a dark red wine color that takes its name from the Burgundy wine of the same color produced in the Burgundy region of France. As a tertiary color, it is created by combining the primary colors red and blue. Burgundy is darker than normal red and brighter than normal wine red. It has a reddish-brown tinge similar to the color of burgundy wine. Burgundy is a popular color for clothing, home furnishings, lipstick, and wine bottles.

Defining Maroon

Maroon is a rich, deep red color that takes its name from the French word marron, or chestnut. It is created by adding brown to red. Maroon sits between red and brown on the color wheel. It is a very dark, rich shade of red that is slightly browner and darker than burgundy. Maroon is commonly used as a school color and is seen in Sparta uniforms. It’s also a popular fall color used in home decor.

Defining Purple

Purple is a color that is traditionally obtained by combining red and blue. It sits between red and blue on the color wheel. Purple ranges from lighter lavender shades to darker eggplant hues. In printing and digital media, purple is created by mixing red and blue light. On the RYB color wheel used by painters, violet is created by combining red and blue pigments. Purple is closely associated with royalty and spirituality.

Comparing Hue, Tone, and Shade

Now let’s take a closer look at how burgundy, maroon, and purple compare to one another in terms of hue, tone, and shade:


Hue refers to where a color falls on the color spectrum. Burgundy and maroon have a red-based hue, while purple has a blue-based hue.


Tone refers to how light or dark a color is. Maroon is darker and richer than burgundy. Eggplant purple is darker than lighter lavender shades.


Shade describes pureness of color. Burgundy and maroon have brown undertones, while purple can range from more blue-toned to more red-toned shades.

Comparing Color Values

We can also compare numeric values for burgundy, maroon, and purple:

Color Hex Code RGB
Burgundy #800020 128, 0, 32
Maroon #800000 128, 0, 0
Purple #800080 128, 0, 128

This shows that burgundy and maroon are very close in value but burgundy has a little more blue, while purple is more balanced between red and blue.

Burgundy vs. Maroon

So what’s the difference between burgundy and maroon? Let’s compare:

  • Burgundy has a brighter, redder hue compared to the browner maroon.
  • Maroon is darker and deeper than burgundy.
  • Burgundy has more obvious purple/blue undertones than maroon.

Some key differences come down to how these shades are created. Burgundy takes its name from the color of French burgundy wine. It originally came from the Burgundy region, where winemakers blended different grapes together, resulting in the deep red hue. Maroon originally comes from the French chestnut color, which incorporates brown into the red.

Burgundy vs. Purple

How does burgundy compare to purple? Here are some key differences:

  • Burgundy is a tertiary color (red + blue) while purple is a secondary color (red + blue).
  • Burgundy has a red base while purple has a blue base.
  • Burgundy is not as dark as a true purple.
  • Purple can take on cooler or warmer tones while burgundy always has a warm, winy hue.

Purple is a catch-all for shades ranging from light lavender to deep eggplant. Burgundy is always a rich, warm red tone, never with the cool tones of some purples.

Maroon vs. Purple

So how does maroon compare to purple? Here are some key differences:

  • Maroon has a red base while purple has a blue base.
  • Maroon is always darker and deeper than any purple.
  • Maroon has brown undertones while purple can take on warm or cool tones.
  • Purple lightens to lavender, while maroon lightens to red.

Purple is a broad color category, from light to dark and warm to cool. Maroon is specifically a rich, deep, warm red shade that always incorporates brown.

Tips for Telling Burgundy, Maroon, and Purple Apart

Now that we’ve compared these three complex colors, here are some tips for telling burgundy, maroon, and purple apart:

  • Check the base color – Burgundy and maroon have a red base while purple has a blue base.
  • Examine undertones – Burgundy has more noticeable purple/blue undertones, while maroon has brown undertones.
  • Pay attention to lightness/darkness – Maroon is darker than burgundy, and eggplant purple is darker than lighter lavender purples.
  • Consider the original source – Burgundy comes from a French wine and maroon from a chestnut color.
  • Look next to other colors – Burgundy appears brighter and purpler next to red, while maroon looks browner next to red.

With an eye for undertones and color values, you can learn to readily distinguish maroon from burgundy and purple. It just takes practice studying how the colors appear in different lightings and against other colors.


While similar, there are distinct differences between the colors burgundy, maroon, and purple. Burgundy has a red base with bluish/purplish undertones. Maroon has a red base with brown undertones. Purple has a blue base and can range from cooler to warmer tones. Maroon is always the darkest, with burgundy being medium-dark and purple ranging light to dark. With a little practice, you can learn to spot the subtle differences between these deep, elegant colors.