Les Couleurs | French Vocabulary About Colours

Learn how to say the different colours in French

Add colour to your vocabulary and learn how to say the different colours and colour terminology in French.


Colour Properties
teinte Hue - pure colour
teinte Tint - adding white to a pure hue
nuance Shade - adding black to a pure hue
tonalité Tone - adding gray to a pure hue
saturation Saturation - intensity of colour
value Value - how light or dark a colour is


The Colours
couleur colour
rouge red
jaune yellow
bleu/bleue blue
vert/verte green
orange orange
violet/violette violet
rose pink
marron brown
blanc/blanche white
noir/noire black
gris/grise gray
arc-en-ciel rainbow


The Colour Wheel
palette de couleurs colour wheel
couleurs primaires: rouge, jaune, bleue Primary Colours -  red, yellow, blue
couleurs secondaires: verte, orange, violet Secondary Colours - green, orange, violet
couleurs tertiaires: rouge-orange, rouge-violet, jaune-orange, jaune-vert, bleu-violet, bleu-vert Tertiary Colours - red-orange, red-violet, yellow-orange, yellow-green, blue-violet, blue-green



Colour Schemes
monochromatique Monochromatic - uses one colour or several values (shades or tints) of one colour.

Analogous - Any three colours side-by-side on the colour wheel (example: orange, red-orange and red)
triadique trois Triadic Three - colours that are equidistant from each other on the colour wheel (example: red, yellow and blue).

Complementary - Two colours that are opposite each other on the colour wheel (example: red and green)
split complémentaire Split Complementary - using the colours adjacent to the base colour's complementary colours
tétradique Tetradic - uses four colours arranged in two complimentary pairs
à angle droit Square - uses four colours spaced evenly throughout the colour wheel


Describing Colours
foncé dark
clair light
fluo florescent
fade faded, washed-out
vif bright, alive
terne dull
couleurs neutres Neutral Colours - colours not found on the colour wheel such as gray, beige and brown.
couleurs chaudes Warm Colours - does not include any blue
couleurs fraîches Cool Colours - does not include any red


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