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What is the color term for dark red?

What is the color term for dark red?

When describing colors, we often use common color terms like red, blue, green, etc. However, there are many subtle variations of these basic colors that require more specific names. One such example is dark red. Dark red sits between the bright red and the burgundy side of the red color spectrum. It is richer and deeper than basic red but not as dark as burgundy. So what is the proper name for this dark red color? Let’s explore some of the common color terms used to describe dark shades of red.

Different Types of Dark Red

There are a few different terms used to describe dark reds:

– Maroon – Maroon is a rich, deep red color with a hint of brown. It sits between red and burgundy on the color wheel.

– Oxblood – Oxblood is a very dark red color, often with a purple or brown tint. It is darker than maroon.

– Cordovan – Cordovan is a rich, slightly purple-toned shade of burgundy. It is generally darker than oxblood.

– Burgundy – Burgundy is a dark red color that has a purplish tint. It is darker than maroon.

– Bordeaux – Bordeaux is a dark red color that is similar to burgundy but generally considered more reddish.

So maroon, oxblood, cordovan, burgundy, and bordeaux are all terms used to describe dark shades of red. But what exactly constitutes the color “dark red”?

Defining Dark Red

When categorizing dark red as a distinct color, it generally refers to rich red hues that are noticeably darker than plain red but not as dark as burgundy. Here are some key characteristics of dark red:

– Clearly deeper and richer than primary red.

– May have very subtle purple, brown, or orange undertones.

– Not as dark as burgundy, which has a clearer purple/brown tone.

– Retains the essential “redness” of the color rather than shading fully into purple/brown tones.

– Slightly deeper and richer than maroon.

– Darker than oxblood, which has more noticeable purple/brown tones.

So in summary, dark red is a rich, deep shade of primary red with just a hint of secondary purple, brown, or orange tones. It sits between red and burgundy on the color spectrum.

Color Lightness Hue RGB Values
Red Lighter 0 degrees RGB(255, 0, 0)
Dark red Darker 350 degrees RGB(139, 0, 0)
Burgundy Darkest 340 degrees RGB(128, 0, 32)

Common Examples of Dark Red

Here are some common examples of colors that fall under the dark red umbrella:

– Oxblood – Oxblood is frequently used to describe a very dark reddish-brown color, often seen in leather.

– Cordovan – Cordovan is a classic rich dark red color used in shoe leather.

– Burgundy wine – The deep red color of burgundy wines is a perfect example of dark red.

– Marsala – Marsala is a popular reddish-brown paint color that is slightly lighter than oxblood.

– Falu red – Falu red is a traditional Swedish paint pigment known for its deep, rich red-brown tone.

– Barn red – Barn red is a faded, rustic red paint color commonly seen on barns and sheds.

So when trying to visualize dark red, think of classic leather boots, dark red wine, rustic paint colors, and deep earthy tones.

Dark Red vs. Burgundy

Burgundy is probably the color most similar to and easily confused with dark red. However, there are some subtle differences:

– Burgundy has more noticeable purple/brown undertones compared to the essential “redness” of dark red.

– Dark red retains a distinctly rich, deeper red character whereas burgundy starts to shade into more brownish-purple tones.

– Burgundy is darker and deeper than dark red. If it starts to look more brown than red, it’s likely crossed into burgundy territory.

– Burgundy is a slightly cooler tone while dark red is warmer in hue.

So while they are closely related, burgundy ultimately has more purple and brown tones compared to the pronounced redness of dark red. Think of dark red as the bridge between red and burgundy.

Uses of Dark Red

Dark red is a versatile color that fits nicely in both traditional and modern color palettes. Here are some of the most common uses:

– As an accent color – Dark red works nicely as an accent color in interior design. It provides a sophisticated pop darker than true red.

– Leather – Rich, deep shades of red are very popular leather colors, especially in shoes and handbags.

– Paint colors – Dark red paint colors provide an elegant, classical look. Popular dark red paint shades include cordovan, oxblood, and marsala.

– Wine – Dark red is the classic color of red wines like cabernet sauvignon and merlot.

– Autumn tones – Dark red fits perfectly among the seasonal colors of autumn and harvest time.

– Traditional rugs & textiles – Turkish, Persian, and Indian rug designs often incorporate beautifully rich dark red tones.

– Classic cars – Many high-end sports cars come in dark red shades like oxblood or cordovan leather interiors.

So dark red is extremely versatile – it can provide a sense of depth, elegance, richness, and visual interest wherever it is used.


In summary, dark red is a richer, deeper shade of red that sits between primary red and burgundy on the color spectrum. It retains the essential “redness” of the color rather than shading into clear purple/brown tones like burgundy. Common color terms for dark red include oxblood, cordovan, maroon, and sometimes just “dark red.” It is commonly seen in leather, paint, wine, textiles, and automotive applications where its deep, intense nature can add sophistication and elegance. So next time you want to get more specific than just “red,” consider using the color term dark red to convey a richer, more nuanced reddish tone.