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What’s a Colour that starts with Z?

What’s a Colour that starts with Z?

When it comes to the letters of the alphabet, Z is one of the more uncommon and intriguing ones. Unlike letters like A or B that start many common words, there are relatively few English words that start with Z. This can make it a fun challenge to try and think of colors that start with the letter Z.

The Difficulty of Finding Z Colors

The main reason why it’s rare to find colors starting with Z is that the letter Z originates from the Greek alphabet. Most colors in the English language derive their names from Latin, Old English, or other Germanic languages. So colors that start with Z are uncommon simply because the letter Z itself was a late addition to the English alphabet.

In fact, in early versions of the Latin alphabet adopted by Germanic languages, there was no Z at all. The letter Z was added in the Middle Ages, primarily to transcribe words borrowed from Greek or Hebrew. So colors starting with Z are usually colors that originated in Greece, the Middle East, or Asia rather than the Germanic and Latin roots of most English color names.

Possible Colors Starting with Z

Given the difficulty of finding native English color names starting with Z, the best options are to look at colors borrowed from other languages and cultures that make more use of the letter Z. Here are some examples of colors starting with Z and their origins:

Color Origin
Zaffre Arabic
Zinnober German
Zomp Spanish

Zaffre is an intense blue color that was originally produced by heating a cobalt compound. The word comes from the Arabic word for the cakes of cobalt ore used to make the pigment. Zinnober is the German word for the color vermillion, a bright red pigment made from mercury sulfide.

Zomp is a beige or light brown color in Spanish, similar to the color of dry earth. It comes from the Old Spanish word for the tree stump mushroom that has a brownish color. These are just a few examples of colors borrowed from other languages starting with the letter Z.

Invented Z Colors

In addition to colors from other languages, there are some examples of English color names starting with Z that have been more recently invented. These were likely created specifically to have colors starting with the rare letter Z:

  • Zaffre green – A bright green
  • Zinnwaldite brown – A medium brown
  • Zomp yellow – A light, buttery yellow

These colors take their names from adding common color words like “green,” “brown,” and “yellow” to existing Z color roots. While not as traditional as the borrowed color words, invented Z colors help expand the options for colors starting with Z.

Colors Inspired by Places and Names

In addition to taking words from other languages, some color names starting with Z come from place names and proper names that start with Z:

  • Zagreb green – A bluish green inspired by the capital of Croatia
  • Zanzibar red – A reddish brown inspired by the island of Zanzibar
  • Zeus purple – A very deep purple inspired by the Greek god Zeus

Places like cities and countries with Z names can inspire colors named after them. Mythological figures and gods with Z names from various cultures also provide inspiration for creating exotic colors that start with the letter Z.

Shades of Gray and Neutrals

For colors starting with Z that refer to shades of gray and neutral colors, the key is to add a Z word in front of the common color name:

  • Zesty gray
  • Zingy silver
  • Zooming charcoal

This helps transform ordinary gray shades into more unique colors starting with the letter Z. You can get creative with using energetic or evocative Z words to make the color sound more exciting.

Fabric and Paint Color Names

Within the fabric and textile industry, as well as paint companies, you can sometimes find creative color names starting with Z. These are often invented by marketing professionals to be unique and catchy:

  • Zest linen
  • Zingy silk
  • Zany denim

Paint companies also occasionally use Z color names like Zestful taupe or Zingy lime to make their shades stand out. So investigating fabric swatches and paint color decks can uncover additional examples of colors starting with Z.

Rare Natural Sources for Z Colors

While very rare, there are a few natural sources that provide colors starting with Z. These are colors named after animals, plants, and minerals that start with Z:

  • Zebra white – From zebra stripes
  • Zinnia red – A red from zinnia flowers
  • Zircon blue – From the gemstone zircon

The zebra’s black and white striped pattern provides the color zebra white. Zinnias yield a vivid red dye coming from their bright flower petals. And zircon gems can range from sky blue to teal in color.

Exotic and Foreign Z Color Names

Looking at more unique foreign color names and exotic invented colors can yield additional examples of colors starting with Z:

  • Zurrenad – A shimmery pale green
  • Zwitterion – A color changing paint
  • Zingiber – A warm yellow from ginger root

The rarest colors starting with Z are creative invented colors or obscure foreign color names that are not well known. But they demonstrate the wide range of possible colors starting with Z.


While it may seem challenging at first, with some creative thinking, research, and invention, there are a variety of colors starting with the letter Z. By looking at colors borrowed from other languages, invented color names, place names, fabric colors, paints, and natural sources, you can find or even create Z colors.

So while it’s one of the more rare and exotic letters for color names, Z still provides lots of fun and interesting options for colors that start with Z.