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Names of Colors in Arabic

There are eleven color words that have been indentified in various studies as the most common across most languages. In Arabic, these colors' name are:
  • أَسْوَد (= Aswad) Black
  • أَبْيَض (= Abaidh) White
  • أَحْمَر (= Ahmar) Red
  • أَصْفَر (= Asfar) Yellow
  • أَزْرَق (= Azraq) Blue
  • أَخْضَر (= Akhdhar) Green
  • زَهْرِي (= Zahri) or وَرْدِي (= Wardi) Pink
  • بُرْتُقَالِي (= Burtuqali) Orange
  • بُنْيِّ (= Bunni) Brown
  • بَنَفْسَجِي (= Banafsaji) Purple
  • رَمَادِي (= Ramadi) Gray

In Arabic, colors are treated differently than they are in English in two ways; the names of colors must agree with the gender of described nouns and the names of colors come after the described nouns, not before as in English. Let's discuss each point individually.

Names of Colors According to Gender
In the infographic below, we identify the names for both masculine and feminin nouns. Since EVERYDAY ARABIC always commit to teach the language that is actually used in daily life, both MSA (Modern Standard Arabic: فُصْحَى = Fusha) and slang are used in this infographic.
As you can see, masculine names of colors are same for both MSA and slang (except purple: بَنَفْسَجِي = Banafsaji which is sometimes replaced by the word مُوفِي = Mawfi) while feminin names are not.

infographic: colors' name in Arabic language
* MSA is Modern Standard Arabic (فُصْحَى = Fusha) which is only used in writing and reading.
* شَنْطَة (= Shanta) is a slang word means "Bag". The MSA for this word is: حَقِيبَة (= Haqeeba)

UPDATE: Many followers have been asking me about the color purple in Arabic. To make things clear, there are four common names for this color and each color refers to a different plant's name. The following picture demonstrates the plant's name and the color's name.
Names for purple color in Arabic - Banafsaji Urjuwani Bathengani Lailaki
The Place of Color's Name in Sentence
As in all adjectives in Arabic language, color's name comes after the described nouns. Let's take some examples:
عِنْدِي قَمِيص أَصْفَر
I have a yellow T-shirt
In this example, the noun that needs to be described is قَمِيص (= Qamees : T-shirt). In Arabic, the noun comes before the color (yellow) --> قَميص أَصْفَر while in English, the color comes before the noun --> Yellow T-shirt. Same thing goes son all other colors.

Dark and Light Colors
If you want to describe the color, as a light or dark color, you might say in English:
I have a dark blue T-shirt
Now if you get the general idea here, which is the adjectives always comes before the described noun in English while it comes after the described noun in Arabic, you will figure out where the word غَامِق (= Gamek : dark) would it be in Arabic sentence!. Exactly, it would be AFTER the color's name:
عِنْدِي قَمِيص أَزْرَق غَامِق
Same thing goes with فَاتِح (= Fateh : light), for example
عِنْدِي قَمِيص أَخْضَر فَاتِح
I have a light green T-shirt


Also, see this small book (أنا أحب الملابس I like clothes) to teach children different adjective the clothes name in Arabic.

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6 التعليقات:

  1. Y is the arabic word 4 "white" transliterated as "abaidh"? Does "succun" over ب not mean that it reads "abyadh"?

    1. it is read as "Abyadh" actually. Ab-ya-dh

  2. Apart from "banafsajee", I've come across the words "urjuwaanee" and "baadhinjaanee" for "purple". Which of them is fus-haa/classical arabic?
    Thank u.

    1. Actually, they all common names for color Purple in Fushaa (standard Arabic) and in slang as well. Each color comes from different plant's name. I updated the post to add this info since many have been asking about this. Also, you can see the demonstration for each color with each plant from this picture:

  3. Thanks for this information, i am promise to download your picture..