Colour words in Swedish

Words for colours in Swedish (svenska), their meanings and related expressions.

Each colour term has several different forms. For example, vit is used with common gender words, vitt is used with neuter words, and vita is used with plural words. So you might have en vit bil (a white car), ett vitt hus (a white house) and vita hundar (white dogs).

General colour-related words:

  • färg [færj] = colour, hue, dye, paint, colouring, coloration
  • färgad [færjad] = coloured, dyed, tinted
  • färgglad / färgsprakande / färgstark = colourful
  • färggrann = mutli-coloured, garish
  • färgpalett = colour palette
  • färgsättning = colour scheme, colouration
  • att färgsätta = to colour
  • att färgkoda = to colour code
  • att färglägga = to colour (in), to colourise
  • färgblind [færjblind] = colour-blind
  • färgblindhet [færjblindheːt] = colour-blindness

black svart [svaʈ] - black, dark, sable, without permission, illegally

Etymology: from the Old Norse svartr (black), from the Proto-Germanic *swartaz (black), from Proto-Indo-European *swordo- (dirty, dark, black).


  • att svärta = to blacken, defame, besmirch, vilify
  • svart hål = black hole
  • svart kaffe = black coffee
  • svart te = black tea
  • svart låda = black box, flight recorder
  • svart marknad = black market
  • köpa på svarta marknaden = to hustle
  • svart person = black (person)
  • svarta vinbär = blackcurrent
  • Svarta havet = Black Sea
  • svartbjörn = black bear

white vit [viːt] - white

Etymology: from the Old Norse hvítr (white), from the Proto-Germanic *hwītaz (white), from Proto-Indo-European *ḱweytós (bright, white).


  • att vitna = to whiten
  • vit blodkropp = leucocyte, white blood cell
  • vitt bröd = white bread
  • vitt kött = white meat
  • vitt vin = white wine
  • vita tavla = whiteboard

red röd [røːd] - red

Etymology: from the Old Norse rauðr (red), from the Proto-Germanic *raudaz (red), from Proto-Indo-European *h₁rewdʰ- (red).


  • att rodna = to redden
  • röda blodkropp = red blood cell
  • rött kött = red meat
  • rödvin = red wine
  • röda vinbär = redcurrent
  • Röda havet = Red Sea

yellow gul [gʉːl] - yellow

Etymology: from the Old Norse gulr (yellow), from Proto-Indo-European *ǵʰelh₃- (to flourish, green, yellow).


  • att gulna = to (turn) yellow
  • gulaktig = yellowish
  • gula febern = yellow fever
  • gult kort = yellow card
  • gult ljus = yellow / amber light

blue blå [bloː] - blue

Etymology: from the Old Norse blár (blue), from the Proto-Germanic *blēwaz (blue). from Proto-Indo-European *bʰleh₁-. (blue, dark blue, grey, black).


  • blå(-)grön = blue-green, teal, honeydew
  • blågul = blue-yellow
  • blåaktig = bluish
  • blåblodig = blue-blooded
  • blåbär = (European) blueberry / common bilberry / blue whortleberry (Vaccinium myrtillus)
  • blå måne = blue moon
  • blågräs = bluegrass
  • blåklocka = bluebell, bellflower

green grön [grøːn] - green, jade, verdant

Etymology: from the Old Norse grœnn (green, fresh), from the Proto-Germanic *grōniz (green). from Proto-Indo-European *gʰreh₁-. (to grow, become green).


  • att göra grön = to green
  • grönaktig = greenish, greeny
  • grönt ljus = green light
  • grön te = green tea
  • grön havssköldpadda = green turtle
  • gröna fingrar = green fingers / thumb

brown brun [brʉːn] - brown

Etymology: from the Old Norse brúnn (brown, bright [metal]), from the Proto-Germanic *brūnaz (grey, brown). from Proto-Indo-European *bʰerH- (grey, brown).


  • att bryna = to brown (food), sauté
  • brunaktig = brownish
  • brunhårig = brown haired
  • brunkol = lignite, brown coal
  • bli brun = to grow/turn brown, get a (sun)tan

pink rosa [roːsa] - pink, rosy, rose-coloured

orange orange [oranʃ / oranʒ] - orange, orange-coloured
brandgul = orange

grey grå [groː] - grey, deal, dismal, drab, dull, gloomy, leaden, mousy, sullen

Etymology: from the Old Norse grár (grey), from the Proto-Germanic *grēwaz (grey). from Proto-Indo-European *ǵʰreh₁- (to grow, become green).


  • att gråna = to go/become grey
  • grått hår = grey hair
  • gråhäger = grey heron

purple lila [liːla] = purple; purper = purple

Etymology (lila): from the French lilas (lilac).

Other colours

  • silver [silver] = silver
  • guld [guld] = gold
  • turkos [turkoːs] = turquoise
  • indigo [indiːgo] = indigo
  • violett [violetː] = violet
  • skär [ɧæːr] = rosy, rose-coloured
  • beige [beːɧ] = beige

Corrections by / Rättelser av Mattias Persson

Hear some Swedish words for colours:

Information about colours in Swedish


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Colours in Germanic languages

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Colour words in other languages


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