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The #1 Easy Guide To Colors In German

April 21, 2022

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What is life without color?! Colors are everywhere and are an important part of communicating in any language. Colors play an important role in describing objects and emotions and serve as powerful adjectives.

Knowing the colors in the German language will help you make choices; for example, 'I'd like the red one, please,' describe feelings and help you understand German idioms or sayings.

This article will teach you far more than just the names of colors in German, such as blue, red, yellow, green, purple, orange, and grey. Also included are how to say different variations of hues such as dark blue or light green.

You'll learn how to describe colors and how they are pronounced by listening to German audio. Get to understand the meaning of the ever

 

How To Say The Most Common Colors In German

Let's get straight to it! You're here for the colors, and here they are.
Many of the German colors are quite similar in pronunciation to their English language counterparts, making them much easier to learn and remember. Click on the blue speaker button to hear and listen to how the colors are pronounced in German.

Color In EnglishPronunciation In GermanColor
Redrot Learn red in German
Orangeorange Learn orange in German
Yellowgelb Learn yellow in German
Greengrün Learn green in German
Blueblau Learn blue in German
whiteweiß Learn white in German
Blackschwarz Learn black in German
Greygrau Learn grey in German
Brownbraun Learn brown in German
Beigebeige Learn beige in German
Pinkrosa Learn pink in German
Purplelila Learn purple in German
Silver
silber
Learn silver in German
Gold
gold
Learn gold in German

Can you see how easy it is to learn the colors in German?! Orange is simply orange, and grey is so similar it's even easy to spell. The only tricky colors to learn are purple, pink, black, white, and yellow. With some extra practice, you'll learn those quickly and be ready to use them in real life.

 

Distinguish Between The Nuance Of Colors In German

How to say colors in German

Sometimes it's not possible to outright describe colors. In these instances, nuances of hues are used to describe objects. No one truly knows the names of all the variations of colors, so often '-ish' is added to the end of a color's name. Below are the nuances of hues in German to help you identify or describe objects in Germany.

English WordGerman Pronunciation
Reddish Rötlich
GreenishGrünlich
YellowishGelblich
BlueishBläulich
PurplishViolett
Brownish Bräunlich

As you may notice, you simply add 'lich' to the end of the word for most of the colors. The exception to the rule is purple, where purplish is very similar to the English term for violet.

 

How To Describe Color Characteristics In German

It's also helpful to distinguish between intensities of colors in German. Just like with many languages, It's also helpful to distinguish between intensities of colors in German. Like many languages, German uses' light' and 'dark' to differentiate between hues. Let's take a look at how shades are distinguished in Germany.

Color In EnglishPronunciation In GermanColor
light bluehellblau Learn light blue in German
light greenhellgrun Learn light green in German
light brown
hellbraun Learn light brown in German
light greyhellgrau Learn light grey in German
dark bluedunkelblau Learn dark blue in German
dark greendunkelgrun Learn dark green in German
dark browndunkelbraun Learn dark brown in German
dark greydunkelgrau Learn dark grey in German

By simply adding 'dunkel' or 'hell' to the beginning of any color, you can easily describe hues as dark or light. One thing to note is that when 'light' or 'dark' is added to color in Germany, two words form a single word. So light blue becomes lightblue (hellblau ) and dark green would become darkgreen (dunkelgrun).

 

How To Use Colors In German Sentences

Colors are classified as adjectives, and unlike many languages, in German, the adjective can go before OR after a noun.

When A Color Goes After A Noun

Putting the color after a noun is the easiest way to use colors in a sentence and is quite simple to understand. The order of these sentences is article, noun, auxiliary verb, and adjective, which nicely follows the English sentence structure. Here are some examples and how to pronounce them:

The dog is brown - Der Hund ist braun

The sky is grey - Der himmel ist grau

The snow is yellow - Der Schnee ist gelb

When A Color Goes Before A Noun

When the color goes before a non is where German becomes similar to French sentence and grammatical structure. It is the most challenging thing to learn about German grammatical structures. Understanding this structure is not nearly as simple as placing a color adjective before a noun.

Let's look at the color red. When 'red' is used after a noun, it is 'rot.'

However, when 'red' is used before a noun, its spelling will change to; 

Adjectives are used to classify the noun and therefore change depending on the noun itself:

  • What is the gender of the noun? (masculine, feminine, neutral)
  • Is the noun plural or singular?

The form of the color adjective also depends on whether the following are used in the sentence:

  • Case (nominative, genitive, dative, accusative)
  • Definite article [the - der (masculine), the - die (feminine), das- that (neutral)]
  • Indefinite articles [an - ein (masculine), an - eine (feminine)]

Here Are Some Examples of What Happens to the German Color' Red' When the Adjective Goes before the Noun:

how to use adjectives in German sentences

The red monster = Das rote Monster (nominative, definite article, neuter gender, singular).

how to use adjectives in German sentences

A red monster = Ein rotes Monster (neuter gender, nominative, indefinite article, singular).

how to use adjectives in German sentences

The red balls = Die roten Bälle (masculine gender, nominative, definite article, plural).

A red ball = Ein roter Ball (masculine gender, nominative, indefinite article, singular).

This aspect of the German language will take lots of practice, but it is possible to learn! You can easily pick up German in just a few minutes a day, especially if you use the Ling App. The app makes learning languages, and even grammar, fun!

 

Fun Facts About Colors In Germany

Colors in German culture

Germany uses colors to describe far more than just the different hues of objects. In other cultures, colors have their unique cultural significance in Germany.

For example, in many western nations, red denotes emotions such as anger or rage. It is also used to explain pain or identify political affiliations. Blue also has its unique meanings, such as sadness or depression. In Germany, a color may mean different things, and each color has its distinct cultural implications.

The Color Red

In German, the color red is used to express love and anger. For example, the German phrase, 'Rot wie die Liebe,' means red like love. Yet you can also use this color to describe rage.

  • "rot vor Wut" means to be red with anger
  • "rot sehen" means seeing red

It's also used to describe the local political party, 'die Roten' The Reds.

The Color Black

Black typically evokes dark feelings or affiliations, which is no different in the German language. The color black describes the darkness, death, negative actions, and negative people.

For example, instead of saying, 'Until hell freezes over,' Germans will use the phrase, "Da kannst du warten bis du schwarz wrist.", 'You can wait until you turn black.'

Black also refers to a political party in Germany and describes people who don't pay their taxes, 'schwarzarbeiten.'

The Color White

In Germany, white is synonymous with money. The Germans have a common phrase, 'weißbluten,' which translates to, 'Bleed someone dry (of money).' White is also used to indicate a big sale at shops. 'Weiße Woche,' or 'White Sales' means there will be great deals over a week-long period. Look for this on signs to know when to go shopping and get discounts!

The Color Yellow

Yellow in Germany isn't used in a positive light. If we look at a famous English saying, 'Green with envy,' we see in German they say, 'Yellow with envy,' 'Gelb vor Neid' instead. So, it is not the happy-go-lucky color that we think!

The Color Blue

Blue is by far the color with the most interesting uses. Rather than the meaning of depressed or sad, as in many cultures, in German culture, the word blue or 'blau' is used to describe being drunk! People will even take a day off because they are hungover, called "blau machen."

Blau can also be used differently in other cultures to describe a black eye. Rather in Germany, a black eye becomes a blue eye. "blaues Auge" (because you usually get one in a drunken fight).

 

German Idioms That Use Color

Let's look at some popular idioms used in Germany that make us of colors.

In Germany, a large, respected part of the culture is knowing when to remain silent. They remind themselves of this virtue by saying, "Reden ist Silber, Schweigen ist Gold" which means "Talking is silver, silence is golden."

"Freiheit geht über Silber und Gold" , is quite a powerful German idiom. It translates to, "Freedom is more valuable than both silver and gold."

To say someone is optimistic, you would say they, "Durch die rosa Brille schauen", which means to see the world through pink-tinted glasses.

An interesting idiom is used for Mondays, "Blauer Montag," meaning "Blue Monday." "Blauer Montag" describes a sick day (usually a Monday) or a day someone plays hooky from work, most likely for being hungover.

 

Fun Ways To Practice German Colors!

Games to Play to Learn German Colors

There are a few games you could play with a friend or even on your own to help you learn colors in German. The great thing is that you can play them from anywhere in the world.

  1. I Spy! "I spy with my little eye, something that is....!" Say this phrase and then use the color in a sentence, 'The clouds are white - 'Die Wolken sind weiß.'
  2. Categories/Word Association. Simply list or say things that are of the same color.
  3. A Color Scavenger Hunt. Create a scavenger hunt for yourself or a friend where you need to follow clues to find all the colors.
  4. Collect the Colors. Best played with a friend, you walk around and 'collect' as many colors as possible. When you see one, you simply say it out loud. The player who collected the most colors wins!
  5. Buzz Words. A great game to practice listening skills! You simply listen to music, TV shows, movies, or other people's conversations and listen out for colors. You can also play an alternative version where you look for 'buzz words (colors)' on road signs or advertisements.

 

Other Ways To Practice Colors In German

Listen to and sing a song! Listening to Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat song could be a fun way to remember German colors. Simply replace this line, "Red and yellow and green and brown and blue..." with the German color words. There are many other colors sung in this song, and you could challenge yourself to learn those as well!

Probably the best way to learn colors in German is through your favorite device - your phone! Always The best way to learn colors in German is through your favorite device - your phone! Always have the ability to brush up on your colors through Ling App. Ling will ensure you pronounce all the words correctly while learning a new language, plus the app will even teach you to read and write! Try it now!

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