Colour words in Filipino

Words for colours in Filipino / Taglog with notes on their etymology and usage.

black itim - black

white puti - white

red pulá - red

yellow dilaw - yellow
Derived from its Spanish counterpart, dilao

blue asul, bughaw - blue
Asul was derived from its Spanish counterpart, azul, or perhaps from azure, which originated in Persian, adopted by French and then by English. Asul is used to describe the blueness of anything, including the skies and the oceans. Bughaw, however, is almost always used to refer only to the blueness of the skies and not of the ocean or any body of water for that matter. Bughaw is also the direct Filipino translation of "royalty" or "royal," as in the phrase "royal blood" [dugong bughaw], a phrase which is used also to refer to a person of royal lineage. In current Filipino slang, dugong bughaw may be used to refer to privileged people such as the ultrarich, superintellectuals, and very famous celebrities and political personalities.

green berde, lunti, luntian - green
Berde comes from the Spanish verde. Lunti is used to describe the color of plants, e.g. Ang dahon ay lunti [The leaf is green]. Luntian is used to refer to the greenness of something grand or noncountable such as landscapes or foliage, e.g. luntiang bulubundukin [green mountain range], luntiang parang [green meadows], Ang mga dahon ay luntian [The leaves are green]. Luntian also means "greenish," e.g. Ang damit mo ay may luntiang mantsa [Your shirt has a greenish stain]. Compare this with Ang damit mo ay may berdeng mantsa [Your shirt has a green stain].

brown tsokolate, kayumanggi - brown
Tsokolate comes from the English word chocolate. In Filipino it means both the food and the color. Almost always tsokolate as the color means "dark brown." For example: Ang buhok ni Lola ay tsokolate [The hair of grandmother is brown]. Kayumanggi, on the other hand, almost always refers to the typically light brown or tan skin color of Filipinos and other peoples of the so-called Malay race. race.

pink rosas - pink
Rosas comes from the Spanish word for the flower rose. It is the Filipino word for both the flower rose and the color pink. Although roses come in a variety of colors, rosas as the color strictly means pink, e.g. Ang paborito kong kulay ay rosas [My favorite color is pink].

orange dalandan - orange
Dalandan Dalandan is the Filipino name of Citrus aurantium, or 'bitter orange,' a certain variety of citrus fruits endemic in the Philippines and other Southeast Asian countries. Dalandan has as well become the word for the color orange. Initially people would say "kulay dalandan" ["the color of the fruit orange"] to refer to the color orange; but eventually, the word kulay [color] is dropped, leaving solely dalandan to refer also to the color.

grey abó, ábuhin - grey
Abó originally only meant ash or ashes, but now it also refers to the color of ash, that is, grey. Ábuhin is "greyish." Both words are usually interchangeable. Many people still use kulay abó [the color of ash] to mean "grey"; however, this phrase is now considered redundant, because abó can now stand alone as a color word.

purple lilà - purple, violet
Lilà means purple or violet and related shades, e.g. Pinturahan mo ang dingding ng iyong kuwarto nang lilà [Paint the walls of your room purple]. Some use the Filipino word ube as a color word, however, this is incorrect word usage. Ube is actually the Filipino word for the vegetable 'purple yam.' To illustrate, let's take for example this sentence: Ang suot niyang pantalon ay kulay ube. In English, this translates as "The pants she is wearing is the color of purple yam." Therefore, ube in our example sentence refers to the vegetable. It cannot stand alone in a sentence without prefixing it with the word kulay [color] to mean "violet or purple."

beige murang kapé - beige
Murang kapé may be used to describe anything that is beige in color. It literally means "young coffee beans," but it can now be used as a color word, e.g. Ang kanyang kotse ay murang kapé [His car is beige]. The word mura is a homophone that has at least three different commonly used meanings: 1) cheap, low-priced, or economical, e.g. Ang bigas sa palengke ay mura [The rice sold at the wet market is low-priced]; 2) a curse word, e.g. Ang 'anak ka ng puta' ay isang halimbawa ng mura ['Child of a whore' is an example of a curse word]; 3) young fruit or vegetables, e.g. Bumili ka ng murang buko [Buy some young coconuts]. Furthermore, some Filipinos use mura colloquially to refer to a "young luscious girl."

silver pilak - silver
Pilak refers to both the metal silver and the color silver. It is used also in expressions like pinilakang tabing [silver screen], which means "larangan ng pelikula" ["movie industry" or, loosely, "showbusiness"].

gold ginto - gold
Ginto refers to both the metal and the color. Golden is ginintuan, as in "golden memories" [ginintuang alaala] and "golden heart" or "heart of gold" [ginintuang puso].


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