Greek Language Blog

Funny color names in Greek Posted by on Aug 4, 2014 in Vocabulary

SpeckledOwl under a CC license on Flickr

SpeckledOwl under a CC license on Flickr

Besides the “mainstream” color names that we know there are shades of colors which are used in oral speech only. They derive from nouns and some of them are used in a humoristic way and denote bad taste. They end in –ι with accent and are indeclinable.  Below there is a list of  colors with their shades and some examples of their use. The examples are translated literally.

  • Μπλε (ble) blue

Οινοπνευματί (eenopnevmatee): from οινόπνευμα (eenopnevma)= methylated spirits
Η γιαγιά μου προσπάθησε να βάψει τα μαλλιά της μαύρα αλλά τελικά βγήκαν οινοπνευματί.
(Ee yaya mou prospatheese na vapsee ta maleea tees mavra alla telika vgeekan eenopnevmatee)
My grand-mother tried to dye her hair black but it came out methylated spirits blue.



  • Καφέ (kafe) brown

Κομοδινί (comodeenee) : from κομοδίνο (konodino) = night stand
Ντουλαπί (doulapee) : from ντουλάπα (doulapa)= closet
Ο δάσκαλός μας είναι γύρω στα πενήντα, κοντός, με μαλλί βαμμένο κομοδινί/ντουλαπί.
(O daskalos mas eenai geero sta peneenta, kontos, me vameno komideenee/doularee malee.)
Our teacher is in his fifties, short with dyed closet- brown hair.



  • Πορτοκαλί (portokalee) orange

Καροτί (karotee):  from καρότο (karoto)= orange
«Κοίτα τη Μαρία. Είχε τόσο ωραία μαύρα μαλλιά και τα έβαψε καροτί. «
(Keeta tee Maria. Eehe toso oraia mavra malia kai ta evapse karotee)
“Look at Maria. She had such nice black hair and she dyed it carrot orange.”
«Σαν περούκα είναι.»
(San perouka eenai)
“It looks like α wig.”

Βερικοκί (vereekokee) : from βερίκοκο (verikoko)= apricot
«Σου αρέσει αυτό το χρώμα για τον τοίχο σου; Δεν είναι ούτε πορτοκαλί ούτε ροζ.»
(Sou aresee afto to hroma gia ton teeho sou? Den eenai oute portokalee outer roz)
“Do you like this color for your wall? It’s neither orange nor pink.”
«Είναι βερικοκί
(Eenai vereekokee)
“It’s apricot orange.”



  • Πράσινο (prasino) green

Λαχανί (lahanee): from λάχανο (lahano)= cabbage
Μη βάλεις πάλι αυτό το λαχανί μπλουζάκι, δεν σου πάει καθόλου.
(Mee valees lapee aftee tee lahanee blouza, den sou paee katholou)
Don’t put on this cabbage-green t-shirt  again, it doesn’t suit you at all.

Φυστικί (feesteekee): from  φυστίκι = pistachio
Η Άννα έβαψε τα νύχια της φυστικί.
(Ee Anna evapse ta neeheea tees feesteekee)
Anna painted her nails pistachio-green.



  • Κίτρινο (kitrino) yellow

Καναρινί (kanareenee): from καναρίνι = canary
«Το καναρινί ποδήλατο»  είναι μια ελληνική ταινία.
(To kanareenee poukameeso eenai mia eleenikee teneea)
“The canary-yellow bike” is a Greek movie.

Dario Sanches under a CC license on Flickr

Dario Sanches under a CC license on Flickr










Μουσταρδί (moustardee): from μουστάρδα (moustarda)= mustard
Αυτό το μουσταρδί παλτό ταιριάζει με τα ρούχα σου.
(Afto to moustardee palto tereeazee me ta rouha sou)
This mustard-yellow coat goes well with your clothes.



  • Γκρι (gree) grey

Ανθρακί (anthrakee): from άνθρακας (anthrakas)= coal
Αυτό το λάπτοπ βγαίνει σε ανθρακί και λευκό.
(Afto to laptop vgenee se anthrakee kai lefko)
This laptop comes in charcoal and white.

Ποντικί  (ponteekee): from ποντίκι = mouse
«Θα μου δώσεις τα γκρι μποτάκια σου;»
(Tha mou doseis ta gree botakia sou?)
“Will you give me your grey booties?”
«Δεν είναι γκρι είναι ποντικί
(Den eenai gree eenai ponteekee)
“They’re not grey, they’re mouse-grey.
«Ναι, καλά…»
(Nai, kala)
“Ok, whatever…”

BRAYDAWG under a CC license on Flickr

BRAYDAWG under a CC license on Flickr

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About the Author: Ourania

Ourania lives in Athens. She holds a degree in French Literature and a Master’s degree in Special Education for Children. Since 2008, she has been teaching Greek to foreigners.