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What Colours start with the letter?

What Colours start with the letter?

When thinking about colours that start with certain letters, it can be helpful to break them down into a few main colour categories. The primary colours – red, blue, and yellow – all start with different letters. Beyond the primaries, there are secondary colours like orange and purple, tertiary colours that are mixes of primary and secondary shades, and many more specific hues that have their own unique names.

Primary Colours Beginning with Letters

The main primary colours in painting traditionally start with the following letters:

  • Red – Words for shades of red that start with R include ruby, rust, rose, and more.
  • Blue – Azure, aquamarine, azure, and other shades of blue.
  • Yellow – Lemon, lime, golden, goldenrod all start with letters like L and Y.

So when thinking of primary colour names, the main letters they start with are R, B, and Y/L. These form the foundation for many other colour names.

Secondary Colours Starting with Letters

Building off the primary colours are the secondary colours, which are made by mixing two primaries. Common secondary colours include:

  • Orange – Starting with O, shades include orange, ochre, amber.
  • Purple – With P, there are purples like plum, periwinkle, and more.
  • Green – Jade, jungle green, juniper all start with J or G.

The key letters for secondary colour names are O, P, G, and J. Understanding how they relate to the primaries gives clues to how they are formed.

Tertiary Colours and Their Initial Letters

Tertiary colours are made by mixing a primary and secondary colour. These include shades like:

  • Red-orange – Rust, ruby, red-orange, russet.
  • Yellow-orange – Gold, ginger, gamboge.
  • Yellow-green – Chartreuse, lime green, harlequin.
  • Blue-green – Aquamarine, turquoise, teal.
  • Blue-purple – Indigo, iris, blue violet.
  • Red-purple – Magenta, mulberry, red-violet.

With tertiary colours, the starting letters can vary widely based on the individual shades. But knowing the two original colours blended helps give clues. For example, a red-orange shade likely starts with R.

Unique Colour Names and First Letters

Beyond the primary, secondary, and tertiary colours are hundreds of unique shades with specific names. These often derive from objects in nature, food, minerals, and other sources. Some examples include:

Colour Name Starting Letter Source/Meaning
Apricot A Apricot fruit
Burgundy B Burgundy wine region in France
Cerulean C Derived from Latin “caeruleus” meaning sky blue
Denim D Denim fabric
Ecru E Unbleached linen or silk
Fuchsia F Fuchsia flowering plant
Gamboge G From the gamboge tree

As shown in the table, unique colour names can start with almost any letter. Their origins often inform the first letter. Knowing the meaning behind the colour name can provide clues to how it begins alphabetically.

Colour Names Across Different Languages

When looking at colours and their first letters, it’s important to note that names can vary across languages. For example:

  • Red – In Spanish this is “rojo”, starting with R.
  • Blue – In French this is “bleu”, starting with B.
  • Yellow – In Italian this is “giallo”, starting with G.

So while a colour may start with a certain letter in English, it may begin with a different letter in other languages. The origins and meanings may also shift across cultures and regions.

Use of Colours Starting with Letters in Design

Knowing colours that start with certain letters has applications in creative fields like graphic design. A designer may want to create a colour palette where all shades start with the same letter to give it a cohesive feel. Starting colours with the same letter can help reinforce a desired mood or theme.

Some examples of single letter colour palettes:

  • Blue, Burgundy, Black
  • Purple, Plumb, Periwinkle
  • Rose, Ruby, Russet

Creative applications provide many reasons for designers to research colours starting with specific letters when planning projects. The origins and meanings of the colours can also inform the palette.

Psychology of Colours Beginning with Letters

There are some psychological and emotional associations tied to colours starting with certain letters. For example:

  • Blue – Trust, stability, calmness
  • Red – Energy, excitement, intense
  • Purple – Creativity, imagination, royalty
  • Yellow – Happiness, optimism, warmth
  • Green – Growth, health, balance

Brands and marketing materials may select dominant colours starting with strategic letters to evoke desired feelings in viewers. Colour psychology associations are important for logos, ads, products, websites, and more.


In summary, colours that start with specific letters can be broken down into a few main categories:

  • Primary colours – Red, blue, yellow
  • Secondary colours – Orange, purple, green
  • Tertiary colours – Combinations like red-violet
  • Unique colour names – Derived from nature, foods, minerals, and more

The origins and meanings of colour names provide clues to their first letters across languages. Creative fields utilize colours starting with the same letter to reinforce themes and moods. Colour psychology also gives each starting letter certain associations. Knowing what colours start with which letters has many applications and insights for artists, designers, marketers, and more.