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Which Colour is without E in the word?

Which Colour is without E in the word?

Colour names are an intriguing part of the English language. Many common colour names like red, blue, green, yellow, etc. contain the letter “e”. However, there are some colours whose names do not contain the letter “e”. Let’s take a look at which colour names are without the letter “e”.

Colours Without E: A Quick Overview

At a glance, some of the more common colour names without the letter “e” include:

  • Cyan
  • Brown
  • Gray/Grey
  • Pink

There are many more obscure colour names without “e” as well. We will explore some of those less common options too.

Examining Common Colour Names Without E

Let’s start by taking a closer look at some of the more frequently used colour names that do not contain the letter “e”:


Cyan is a bluish-green colour that occupies a space on the colour wheel between blue and green. It is one of the primary colours in the CMYK colour model along with magenta, yellow, and black. Cyan gets its name from a flower colour rather than a fruit or mineral. The name ultimately derives from the Greek word kyanos meaning “dark blue”.


Brown is arguably the most common colour term without an “e”. It occupies a range of hues between red and yellow, ranging from reddish-brown to yellowish-brown. Brown gets its name from the colour of wood or soil. The origins of the English word stem from the Old English word “brún” which refers to the colour. Other languages derive their word for brown from the colour of animals like bears (i.e. German braun).


Gray and grey are two alternative spellings for the same colour – a neutral tone between black and white. The colour name refers to the intermediate shades that are neither white nor black. The word stems from the Old English grei, which also gave rise to the Scots Gaelic word for green – uaine.


Pink is a pale tint of red that was first used as a colour name in the 17th century. The colour’s name originates from a flower called pink (Dianthus plumarius), whose petals have frilly edges with a pink hue. The word pink is derived from the Dutch pincken, which referred to the small flowers.

Uncommon Colour Names Without E

Beyond the common examples above, there are many more unusual and obscure colour names that do not feature the letter “e”. Here are some uncommon options:

  • Mauv
  • Bistre
  • Carmine
  • Mint
  • Zinnwaldite brown
  • Falu red
  • Fulvous

Let’s learn a bit more about each of these unique colour names:


Mauv is a pale purple colour named after the mallow flower. It is a somewhat reddish tone of purple. Mauv and mauve are different spellings of the same colour term.


Bistre is a brownish-yellow or greyish-brown pigment made from soot. The name originated from the French word “bistre” meaning soot or a dark pigment colour. Bistre has been commonly used by artists for drawing.


Carmine is a vivid red colour that gets its name from the colour of the raw extract of the cochineal insect. Carmine and crimson are similar shades of rich red.


Mint refers to a pale and cool tint of green that resembles the colour of mint leaves. It is lighter and brighter than forest green.

Zinnwaldite Brown

Zinnwaldite brown is a pigment made from the mineral zinnwaldite that creates a warm medium brown colour. It is a relatively obscure pigment used in oil paint and artistic paints.

Falu Red

Falu red is a deep reddish-brown pigment that originated from a mine in Falun, Sweden. It has been used as a traditional paint colour on wooden houses and barns in Sweden for centuries.


Fulvous refers to a dull orangey-yellow colour. The word stems from the Latin “fulvus” meaning tawny or yellowish.

Shades of Colour Names without E

Many colour names can be modified by shades like “light”, “pale”, or “dark” to alter their brightness or depth of colour. This allows us to create endless variations of colours based on a root term. Here are some examples of shade variations for our colour names without “e”:

  • Light cyan
  • Dark brown
  • Pale gray
  • Neon pink
  • Light mauve
  • Dark mint

As you can see, adding a shade before a colour creates a more specific version of that colour. This gives us even more options for colours without the letter “e”.

Colour Names in Other Languages without E

So far, we’ve explored colours in English that don’t feature the letter “e”. But many other languages also have colour names without an “e”, based on their own words and linguistic origins.

Here are some examples of colours in other languages that are spelled without an “e”:

Language Colour Word
Spanish Marrón
French Mauve
German Beige
Italian Marrone
Portuguese Roxo

There are likely many other colour words without “e” in various languages around the world. The options multiply when you consider all the global languages with their own colour lexicons.

Why Are There Colours without E?

After looking at all these examples of colours without “e”, you may be wondering – why are there so many common colour names that lack this one particular letter?

There are a few key reasons why the letter “e” may not appear in some words for colours:

  • Etymology – The origins and linguistic roots of some colour words from other languages did not contain the letter “e”. These became adopted into English in their original form.
  • Old English/Germanic origins – Some current English words stem from Old English or Germanic root words that did not feature “e”.
  • Word Derivations – Some colour words are derived from names (people, places, flowers, etc.) that don’t have an “e”.
  • Phonetics – the sound and pronunciation of some words may not pair naturally with “e”. Alternative vowels like “a” or “o” flow better.

So in summary, the lack of “e” in some colour words is often tied to the linguistic roots and phonetic pronunciations of the original terms. The English language absorbed many of these foreign colour names without altering the spellings.


The use of the letter “e” is not universal across all colour terms in English. Many common colours lack an “e” due to their roots and linguistic origins. However, the majority of basic colour words do contain the letter. The examples we have explored, from brown and pink to carmine and mint, demonstrate that colours without “e” offer a unique niche within the English colour lexicon.

So next time you need a colour word and want to avoid using the letter “e” for some reason, try cyan, brown, gray, or pink instead! You’ll be surprised just how many options don’t feature that one popular vowel.