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What is Brown Colour spelling?

Brown is a colour that is made by mixing red, yellow, and black pigments together. The spelling of the word brown in British English is quite straightforward – it is spelt “brown”. However, in American English, the spelling can sometimes cause confusion as both “brown” and “browned” are considered acceptable spellings of the colour word. The key things to know about brown colour spelling are:

British English Spelling

In British English, the standard spelling is always “brown”:

  • The brown dog ran through the park.
  • She was wearing a brown coat.
  • The walls were painted brown.

“Brown” is the only accepted spelling for the colour in British English. You would never write “browned” when referring to the colour brown in UK English.

American English Spelling

In American English, both “brown” and “browned” are considered correct:

  • The brown dog ran through the park.
  • The browned dog ran through the park.

However, “brown” is by far the more common spelling choice in US English. “Browned” is acceptable but is rarely used to describe the colour itself. It is more often used in phrases like “browned butter” or “browned meat” to indicate something has been browned through cooking or exposure to the sun.


The word “brown” has Germanic origins and is related to the Dutch word “bruin” and the German word “braun”. In Old English, it was spelled “brun” but over time the spelling shifted to “brown”. The word refers to the colour of wood or rich soil.

The spelling “browned” likely emerged from the past participle of the verb “to brown”. For example, when meat is seared or tanned from cooking, it can be described as “browned”. This evolved into an acceptable adjective form in American English.

Usage Recommendations

For most writing purposes, it is recommended to use the “brown” spelling exclusively to refer to the colour itself:

  • In British English, always use “brown”
  • In American English, use “brown” in most cases and avoid “browned” except for specific contexts

The “browned” spelling may come across as non-standard or informal in most types of writing. Reserve “browned” for cooking instructions, food descriptions, or instances where something has become browned through tanning or exposure to the sun.

Common Phrases

Here are some common phrases using the word “brown”:

  • Brown hair
  • Brown eyes
  • Brown sugar
  • Brown rice
  • Brown bear
  • Brownie (the chocolate treat)
  • To be browned off (British English, meaning annoyed)

Avoid using “browned” in these set phrases referring to colours or foods. Reserve “browned” for contexts where something has been physically browned, like:

  • Browned butter
  • Browned meat
  • Browned by the sun


As an adjective, “brown” remains unchanged in all conjugations:

  • Present tense: The tree is brown.
  • Past tense: The tree was brown.
  • Future tense: The tree will be brown.

“Browned” can be used as an adjective but is very uncommon outside of specific browned food or tanning contexts:

  • Present tense: The meat is browned.
  • Past tense: The meat was browned.
  • Future tense: The meat will be browned.

Comparative and Superlative Forms

The comparative and superlative forms of “brown” are:

  • Comparative: browner
  • Superlative: brownest

For example:

  • This colour is browner than that one.
  • This is the brownest paint colour in the entire catalogue.

“Browned” is not used in comparative or superlative forms to describe shades of the colour.

Key Takeaways

  • “Brown” is the standard spelling for the colour in both British and American English.
  • “Browned” is an acceptable but non-standard spelling in American English only.
  • Use “brown” in all general writing contexts and for set phrases referring to colour.
  • Reserve “browned” for instances where a food or surface has become browned through cooking, sun exposure, etc.
  • Do not use “browned” for comparative or superlative forms – use “brown”, “browner”, and “brownest”.


In summary, the key things to know are:

  • “Brown” is the standard spelling for the colour in British and American English.
  • “Browned” is an alternative spelling in American English only.
  • Use “brown” in most writing contexts and “browned” sparingly for specific uses.
  • Stick to “brown”, “browner”, and “brownest” for comparatives and superlatives.
  • Be aware of the contexts where “browned” may be appropriate to refer to tanning or food preparation.

Following these guidelines will ensure correct and consistent spelling of the colour brown for both UK and US readers and avoid confusion over when to use “brown” versus “browned”. Maintaining the standard “brown” spelling as the default is recommended in nearly all writing situations.