Colors in French

Instructor: Marcy Farrell
What's your favorite color? How do you say white lie, a red flag, or a blue moon in French? In this lesson, you'll learn the names for colors in French and a few colorful expressions as well.

Colors in French

Have you ever been green with envy? White as a sheet? Do you like to see things clearly explained in black and white? In every language, colors are connected to emotions and ideas. Once you learn color names in French, you can describe objects, but you can also add some expressions to your vocabulary.

Color Names

Picture of a blue star

  • BLEU (pronounced: bleuh): blue

The French love soccer. The nickname of the French national soccer team, Les Bleus (pronounced: lay bleuh), meaning 'The Blues,' comes from their uniforms. If you're in France, you can join in with the crowds supporting the French team by chanting Allez les Bleus! (pronounced: ah-lay lay bleuh), which means 'Go Blues!' And after a rough game, a player might have un bleu, (pronounced: uhn bleuh), which is a bruise.

picture of a red star

  • ROUGE (pronounced: roohj): red

If you're embarrassed or angry, you might get rouge comme une tomate (pronounced: roohj cuhm oohn toh-maht), red as a tomato. Soccer players who break the rules can get a carton rouge (pronounced: car-tahn roohj), a red card.

picture of yellow star

  • JAUNE (pronounced: zhohn): yellow

In English, if you're looking sick we might say you look a little green. But in French, you are jaune comme un citron (pronounced: zhohn cuhm uhn see-tron), yellow as a lemon.

If you make yourself laugh at something that you really don't find funny, you give a rire jaune (pronounced: reer zhohn), a forced laugh.

picture of green star

  • VERT (pronounced: vehr): green

Environmentalists might vote for a candidate from Le Parti vert (pronounced: luh pahr-tee vehr), the Green Party. In France, a toll-free number is un numéro vert (pronounced: uhn nooh-may-roh vehr).

picture of an orange star

  • ORANGE (pronounced: oh-rahnj): orange

For breakfast, you might like to have some jus d'orange (pronounced: zhooh dohr-ahnj), which is orange juice. In France, on a stoplight, the light in between red and green that warns drivers to slow down is called a feu orange (pronounced: fuh oh-rahnj), an orange light.

  • ROSE (pronounced: rohz): pink

Do you see the world through rose-colored glasses? If so, you might like a song by the famous French singer Edith Piaf, La Vie en rose (pronounced: lah vee ehn rohz), or 'life in pink.'

  • VIOLET (pronounced: vee-oh-lay): purple

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