List of Words to Describe Colors

Updated May 16, 2022
Colorful triangle geometric background
    Colorful triangle geometric background
    oxygen / Moment / Getty Images
    Used under license

Most of life is full of color, from the great outdoors to commercial malls. When writing, it can be difficult to capture all the colors of the rainbow. From time to time, it’s okay to pepper our writing with generic words like “bright” or “colorful.” But, what if we could do better?

What if we provided commentary on flaming leaves and monochromatic skies? Sounds a little more interesting, right? Read on to enjoy a list of words to describe colors. Let’s see if any of them will pop up in your next piece of writing.

Words that Embrace Color

Descriptive words for color can evoke a positive feeling, a negative feeling, or simply express the facts. Certainly, when they have a positive connotation, they’re going to express bright and cheery emotions. Let’s take a look:


Color Words with Negative Connotations

Not everything is for everyone. When we’re met with something overly colorful or drab, we need to find the right words to convey that feeling. See if any of these words will work for your next writing piece:

  • Ashy - Having the color of ash; pale
  • Bleak - Gloomy; somber; not colorful
  • Blotchy - Discolored or patchy
  • Brash - Abrasive; tacky
  • Chintzy - Cheap-looking
  • Cold - Depressing; saddening
  • Colorless - Lacking color; dull
  • Dark - Lacking in light
  • Dim - Not bright
  • Discolored - Deprived of color; given the wrong color
  • Drab - A dull, yellowish-brown color
  • Harsh - Disagreeable; unpleasant
  • Loud - Overly intense
  • Muddy - Not clear
  • Opaque - Incapable of allowing light to pass through
  • Saturated - Overfly full
  • Showy - Gaudy; too flashy
  • Sickly - Having a pallor that reflects being nauseated
  • Somber - Dark; gloomy; dull
  • Sooty - Black or dusky in color
  • Splashy - Attracting too much attention
  • Stained - An unwanted spot
  • Uneven - Not smooth; irregular
  • Washed-out - Lacking color; faded
  • Watery - Containing too much water; diluted

Words that Express a Little Color

Sometimes, less is more. Things can be totally colorless, monochromatic, or full of muted tones. When that’s the message you’re trying to convey, see if any of these illustrators will do:


Paint Your Words with Color

Painters paint their canvas with paint brushes; writers paint their pages with pens and keyboards. The mediums are different but the embrace of expression is the same. Are you ready to take your musings on the world and translate them into a short story? Then, let’s get creative with color word palettes. Continue exploring the world of color with color words from basic to beautiful.