Learning colors in Spanish is an essential part of basic vocabulary. You may be surprised how much you will use colors in everyday conversation. A basic understanding of colors in Spanish will help you identify and describe things, make purchases and communicate. Keep this guide handy to ensure you are prepared with the vocabulary for describing the colors of the world!
Some colors need to be modified to the gender of the noun they are describing. These include:
morado (m), morada (f) - purple
rojo (m), roja (f) - red
amarillo (m), amarilla (f) - yellow
La camioneta roja. → The red truck.
La manta morada. → The purple blanket.
Other colors do not change based on the gender of the noun they are describing. These are:
azul - blue
verde - green
naranja - orange
El gato naranja. → The orange cat.
La silla verde. → The green chair.
All colors, whether they are gender specific or gender neutral must agree in singular and plural forms.
Los ojos azules. → The blue eyes.
Las flores moradas. → The purple flowers.
Las luces naranjas. → The orange lights.
The following words allow you to discuss the nature of colors or to discuss colors that are neither primary or secondary.
el color/los colores - color/colors
los colores primarios - primary colors
los colores secundarios - secondary colors
oscuro/a - dark
brillante - bright
claro/a - light (Ex. un azul claro = a light blue)
tono - shade (Ex. un tono de azul = a shade of blue)
transparente - transparent/clear
dorado (m), dorada (f) - gold, golden
rosado (m), rosada (f) - pink
blanco (m), blanca (f) - white
negro (m), negra (f) - black
lila/violeta - lavender/violet
teal - verde azulado
gris - grey
marrón - brown
el cabello castaño - brown hair
We normally use the verb ser to describe the color of something.
El carro es rojo. → The dress is blue.
Las camisetas son blancas. → The t-shirts are white.
When we are talking about people and the color of something on their body (e.g. skin, eyes, hair) we use two expressions. The first one we normally use when we are describing several characteristics of a person and the second, when we are just describing one characteristic. However, you may hear both ways being used interchangeably by native speakers.
tener + part of body + color or other adjective
La chica tiene piernas largas, uñas rosadas, y cabello rojo. → The girl has long legs, pink nails and red hair.
tener + el/la/los/las + part of body + color
Tiene los ojos azules. → He/she has green eyes.
If you enter a department store and are looking for a specific color dress or shoes, use this expression.
Busco un/una/unos/unas item que sea/sean color. → I am looking for a/some/a pair of item that is/are color.
Busco un vestido que sea negro. → I am looking for a dress that is black.
Busco unos zapatos que sean negros. → I am looking for some shoes that are black.
Although you may be inclined to leave learning your colors for another day, don’t put it off! Knowing basic colors and expressions is essential to your Spanish vocabulary.