Colour words in Breton

Words for colours in Breton (Brezhoneg) with notes and colour-related expressions.

Colour in Breton is liv, which also means complexion or appearance.

Related words include:

black du [ˈdyː] - black, dark, swollen, hungry

Etymology: from Proto-Brythonic *duβ (black), from Proto-Celtic *dubus (black), from Proto-Indo-European *dʰewbʰ- (black).

Expressions / Related words

  • duañ, duaat - to blacken, make black
  • du-bran - very black
  • peurzu - deep black

white gwenn [ˈɡwɛn] - white, pale, pure, brilliant, sacred, useless, vain

Etymology: from the Proto-Brythonic *gwɨnn (white), from Proto-Celtic *windos (white), from Proto-Indo-European *ḱweytos (bright; shine).

Expressions / Related words

  • gwennañ - to whiten
  • gwin gwenn - white wine

red ruz [ˈryːs] - red; dry (plant); unchained (anger)

Etymology: from Proto-Brythonic *rʉð (red), from Proto-Celtic *roudos (red), from Proto-Indo-European *h₁rewdʰ- (red).

Expressions / Related words

  • ruziañ - to redden
  • gwin ruz - red wine

yellow melen [ˈmeː.lɛn] - yellow, fair, blonde

Etymology: from Proto-Celtic *melinos, from *meli (honey), from Proto-Indo-European *mélid (honey)

Expressions / Related words

  • meleniñ - to yellow, ripen
  • melen-ruz - orange ("yellow-red")
  • melen d'ov - egg yolk
  • terzhienn-velen - yellow fever

blue green glas [ˈɡlɑːs] - blue, green (vegetation), grey (horse), raw, fresh, acerbic, pale

Etymology: from Proto-Brythonic *glas (green, blue), from Proto-Celtic *glastos (green, blue), probably from Proto-Indo-European *ǵʰl̥h₃stós, from *ǵʰelh₃- (“green, yellow”).

Expressions / Related words

  • glazniñ - to become green/blue

green gwer - green (artificial)

Etymology: from Latin viridis (green)

brown ruzdu - brown ("red-brown"); liv kistin - chestnut brown; gell - brown; duard [ˈdyː.art] - brown or black (hair)

Etymology (gell): Proto-Celtic *gello- (yellow) or *gelo- (white), from Proto-Indo-European *ǵʰelh₃- (gleam, yellow)

pink roz - pink

Etymology: from French rose (pink).

orange orañjez, orañj - orange; melenruz - orange ("yellow-red")

grey louet - grey, mouldy

Etymology: from Proto-Brythonic *luïd, from Proto-Celtic *ɸlētos, from Proto-Indo-European *pel- (gray).

purple glasruz - purple ("blue-red")

silver arc'hant [ˈaʁχãnt] - silver, money

Etymology: from Old Breton argans, from Proto-Celtic *arganto- (silver), from Proto-Indo-European *h₂erg- (to shine)

Expressions / Related words

  • arc'hant-bev - quicksilver, mercury

gold aour [ˈawʁ] - gold

Etymology: from Latin aureus (golden)

Hear some of these Breton colours:


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Colours in Celtic languages

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