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Colour words in Afrikaans

Words for colours in Afrikaans and some colour-related expressions.

black swart - black

  • politically charged word during the apartheid era, euphemistically changed to "nie-blankes" (non white) when referring to people.

white wit - blank, wit, blanke (person)

red rooi - red

  • die rooidag kom uit: "day break" and roinekke: negative slang term for new Europeans in SA, lit "red necks" (overdone suntans!) and sometimes for all Englih speakers by Afrikaans speakers.

yellow geel - yellow

blue blou - blue

  • Usually the bright sky blue of the Transvaal sky, other blues would be modified

green groen - green

brown bruin, donker - brown

pink pienk, ligrooi - pink

orange oranje - orange

  • as in Oranje-Vrystaat; although an orange (the fruit) is called a "lemoen", and a lemon (fruit) is called a "suurlemoen"; Oranje used to refer to someone from the Orange Free State, or from Bloemfontein in particular, or sometimes as negative slang by English speakers for Afrikaners

grey grys, vergrys - grey

purple purper - purple

  • pimpelpaars ('as purple as a pimple') = very purple.

Notes on Afrikaans colours by Steve Porter

Colour words in other languages

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