From Rojo to Amarillo: Learning Spanish Colors the Easy Way

Elly Kim10 min
Created: Sep 15, 2023Last updated: Feb 27, 2024

Colors are a fundamental aspect of our visual perception. And while their names may differ from one language to another, their hues always remain the same. Today, we will discuss colors in Spanish, as this beautiful and vivid tongue has no less beautiful adjectives to describe them. So, please buckle up, and let’s dive into the colorful and vibrant world of the Spanish language. ¡Buena suerte! 

All You Need to Know About the Basics of Spanish Colors Vocabulary

While we can see hundreds and thousands of different colors and shades, color theory simplifies this diversity into a relatively small number of primary hues. Here are three main types of colors according to this theory:

  • Primary colors are the foundation; they cannot be created by mixing other ones. In the subtractive color model (used in art and design), the primary colors are red, blue, and yellow. They are essential because all other hues can be created by combining them in various ways. These colors are the building blocks of the color spectrum.
  • Secondary colors are created by mixing equal parts of two primary colors. In the subtractive color model, these are orange (from red and yellow), green (from blue and yellow), and purple (from red and blue). Secondary colors sit between the primary ones on the color wheel and offer a broader range of options for creative color combinations.
  • Tertiary colors are the result of mixing a primary color with an adjacent secondary color on the color wheel. There are six tertiary colors: red-orange, yellow-orange, yellow-green, blue-green, blue-purple, and red-purple. Tertiary colors offer a nuanced and sophisticated range of hues.

In addition to that, colors can be divided into two other categories.

  • Neutral colors include black, white, and gray. They lack strong chromatic intensity and are often used to balance and complement more vibrant colors. 
  • Pastel colors are pale and desaturated versions of standard colors. They are created by adding white to a hue, resulting in a softer and lighter appearance.

These are the basics of color theory. These simple hues can be used to produce hundreds of shades, making it easy for artists, designers, or anyone interested in colors to create a virtually infinite palette for self-expression and communication. And now that you know this basic information, it is time to move to the main topic and take a look at the list of colors in Spanish.

Main Types of Colors in Spanish: Deep Dive

Before learning different hues and shades in Spanish, it is important to remember that these terms are mostly used as adjectives. It means that they must agree in both number and gender with the nouns they modify. And with that being said, let’s finally learn the main colors names in Spanish.

Primary Colors

Without these basic hues, we won’t be able to see or make any other shades. Therefore, let’s discuss them first. Take a look at the list of primary colors in Spanish and ways to use them in simple sentences.

  • Rojo – /ˈro.xo/ – red.

La manzana es de color rojo. (The apple is red.)

El semáforo se puso en rojo. (The traffic light turned red.)

Su vestido rojo resalta en la fiesta. (Her red dress stands out at the party.)

  • Azul – /aˈθul/ – blue.

El cielo está despejado y azul. (The sky is clear and blue.)

Mi camisa favorita es de color azul. (My favorite shirt is blue.)

El océano es inmenso y azul. (The ocean is vast and blue.)

  • Amarillo – /a.maˈɾi.ʝo/ – yellow.

Los girasoles son de color amarillo brillante. (Sunflowers are bright yellow.)

La cancha de fútbol tiene líneas amarillas. (The soccer field has yellow lines.)

Las margaritas tienen pétalos de color amarillo suave. (Daisies have soft yellow petals.)

Secondary Colors

Every secondary color in Spanish is created by mixing equal parts of the primary ones. It leads to creating new and vibrant hues. Here are their names and examples of using them in Spanish:

  • Naranja – /naˈɾaŋ.xa/ – orange.

La zanahoria es de color naranja. (The carrot is orange.)

El atardecer en la playa tiene tonos de naranja y rosa. (The sunset at the beach has shades of orange and pink.)

Su suéter nuevo es un hermoso color naranja brillante. (Her new sweater is a beautiful bright orange.)

  • Verde – /ˈ – green.

Los árboles en el bosque son de color verde. (The trees in the forest are green.)

El césped del jardín está muy verde después de la lluvia. (The garden grass is very green after the rain.)

La ensalada está llena de vegetales frescos de color verde. (The salad is filled with fresh green vegetables.)

  • Morado – /moˈɾa.ðo/ – purple.

Las uvas suelen ser de color morado o verde. (Grapes are usually purple or green.)

El vestido de la princesa en el cuento era de un tono morado profundo. (The princess’s dress in the story was a deep purple hue.)

Las flores de lavanda desprenden un agradable aroma y son de color morado claro. (Lavender flowers emit a pleasant scent and are light purple.)


Tertiary Colors

Tertiary hues are made by mixing primary and secondary colors together. Their names appear the same way – a simple combination of two basic shades. However, they create vivid and vibrant different colors of purple, blue, red, etc. Here is the list of tertiary hues and their names in Spanish.

  • Rojo-anaranjado –  /ˈɾanˈxa.ðo/ – red-orange.

El cielo al atardecer adquiere un tono rojo-anaranjado hermoso. (The evening sky takes on a beautiful red-orange hue.)

La pintura de la pared tiene un matiz rojo-anaranjado que complementa el mobiliario. (The wall paint has a red-orange undertone that complements the furniture.)

La sandía tiene una pulpa de color rojo-anaranjado jugosa y dulce. (Watermelon has juicy and sweet red-orange flesh.)

  • Amarillo-anaranjado – /a.maˈɾi.ʝɾanˈxa.ðo/ – yellow-orange.

El follaje de otoño en algunas regiones toma un tono amarillo-anaranjado espectacular. (The autumn foliage in some regions turns a spectacular yellow-orange hue.)

Las mariposas monarca tienen alas con un patrón amarillo-anaranjado único. (Monarch butterflies have wings with a unique yellow-orange pattern.)

La fruta de la naranja madura tiene un color amarillo-anaranjado vibrante y un sabor cítrico. (Ripe orange fruit has a vibrant yellow-orange color and a citrusy flavor.)

  • Amarillo-verde – /a.maˈɾi.ʝo-ˈbeɾ.de/ – yellow-green.

Los campos de trigo tienden a tener un tono amarillo-verde en primavera. (Wheat fields tend to have a yellow-green hue in spring.)

El bosque es un lugar tranquilo y sereno, con hojas de color amarillo-verde en todas partes. (The forest is a peaceful and serene place with yellow-green leaves all around.)

La lechuga fresca es conocida por su color amarillo-verde y su sabor refrescante. (Fresh lettuce is known for its yellow-green color and refreshing taste.)

  • Azul-verde – /aˈθul-ˈbeɾ.de/ – blue-green.

El océano tiene aguas de un azul-verde profundo en la costa tropical. (The ocean has deep blue-green waters along the tropical coast.)

Los ojos de algunas personas tienen un matiz azul-verde que cambia con la luz. (Some people have eyes with a blue-green tint that changes with the light.)

La pintura en la pared de la sala de estar es un azul-verde relajante que crea una atmósfera tranquila. (The paint on the living room wall is calming blue-green, creating a peaceful atmosphere.)

  • Azul-morado – /aˈθul-moˈɾa.ðo/ – blue-purple.

El atardecer en la montaña a menudo muestra colores azul-morado en el horizonte. (The sunset in the mountains often displays blue-purple colors on the horizon.)

El vestido de la dama de honor era de un azul-morado elegante en la boda. (The bridesmaid’s dress was an elegant blue-purple at the wedding.)

Las flores en el jardín tienen tonos azul-morado que contrastan con el verde del césped. (The flowers in the garden have blue-purple shades that contrast with the green grass.)

  • Rojo-morado – /ˈro.xo-moˈɾa.ðo/ – red-purple.

La puesta de sol en invierno a veces muestra colores rojo-morados intensos. (The winter sunset sometimes displays intense red-purple hues.)

Las uvas de vino tinto tienen un color rojo-morado característico. (Red wine grapes have a characteristic red-purple color.)

La alfombra en la sala de estar es de un rojo-morado lujoso que agrega calidez al espacio. (The carpet in the living room is a luxurious red-purple that adds warmth to the space.)

Discover All About the Basics of Spanish Colors Vocabulary

Bonus! Shades of Colors in Spanish

Now that you are acquainted with basic color names in Spanish, it is time to expand your vocabulary even more. To accomplish this, we’ve compiled a list of various shades of primary, secondary, and tertiary colors alongside their names in Spanish. Take a look at them below.

  • Different types of green in Spanish color.

Verde esmeralda – /ˈ es.meˈral.da/ – emerald green.

Verde lima – /b​​ ˈ – lime green.

Verde oliva – / oˈ – olive green.

Verde bosque – / ˈbos.que/ – forest green.

Jade – /xa.ðe/ – jade green.

  • Different types of orange color.

Naranja mandarina – /naˈɾan.xa man.daˈɾ – tangerine orange.

Naranja quemado – /naˈɾan.xa keˈma.ðo/ – burnt orange. 

Bronce – /ˈbɾ – bronze.

Ámbar – /ˈam.baɾ/ – amber.

Mermelada – /meɾ.meˈla.ða/ – marmalade.

  • Different types of blue in Spanish.

Azul real – /aˈθul reˈal/ – royal blue.

Turquesa – /tuɾˈ – turquoise.

Verde azulado – /ˈbeɾ.de aˈθ – teal.

Azul bebé – /aˈθul ˈ – baby blue.

  • Different types of red.

Borgoña – /boɾˈɣo.ɲa/ – burgundy.

Cereza – /seˈɾe.θa/ – cherry.

Carmesí – /kar.meˈsi/ – crimson.

Escarlata – /es.kaɾˈla.ta/ – scarlet.

Granate – /ɡɾaˈna.te/ – maroon.

  • Different types of purple colors.

Lila – /ˈ – lilac.

Malve – /ˈ – mauve.

Violeta – /bjoˈle.ta/ – violet.

Uva – /ˈ – grape.

Morera – /moˈre.ɾa/ – mulberry.

  • Different types of brown.

Marrón – /maˈron/ – brown.

Caramelo – /ka.ɾaˈme.lo/ – caramel.

Sepia – /ˈse.pi.a/ – sepia.

Castaño – /kasˈta.ɲo/ – chestnut.

Chocolate – /ʧo.koˈlate/ – chocolate.

  • Different types of pink.

Rosa – /ˈ – pink.

Durazno – /duˈɾ – peach.

Magenta – /maˈɣen.ta/ – magenta.

Salmón –  /salˈmon/ – salmon.

  • Different types of black.

Negro – /ˈne.ɡɾo/ – black.

Ébano – /ˈ – ebony.

Tinta – /ˈtin.ta/ – ink.

Obsidiana – /ob.siˈð – obsidian.

Negro azabache – /ˈne.ɡɾoˈba.ʧe/ – jet black.

  • Different types of white.

Blanco – /ˈblan.ko/ – white.

Beige – /ˈbe.ixe/ – beige.

Marfil – /maɾˈfil/ – ivory.

Coco – /ˈko.ko/ – coconut.

Perla – /ˈpeɾ.la/ – pearl.

Learning Spanish Color Names with Promova

Are you eager to explore the vibrant world of Spanish colors and enrich your language skills? Look no further than the Promova language learning app! Designed with students in mind, our application offers an engaging and effective way to master Spanish color names and much more. Here are some of the main reasons to install Promova today:

  1. Promova provides an extensive collection of words and phrases to expand your vocabulary.
  2. Say goodbye to monotonous memorization. Promova makes learning dynamic and enjoyable with interactive quizzes, games, and exercises that reinforce your understanding of color vocabulary.
  3. Promova is available at your fingertips, anytime and anywhere. Whether you’re on the bus or relaxing at home, you can dive into learning Spanish or other languages whenever you want.
  4. The app tailors your learning experience to your pace and level. Whether you’re a beginner or more advanced, Promova adapts to your needs.
  5. Promova keeps tabs on your progress, allowing you to see how far you’ve come in mastering Spanish. Celebrate your achievements and stay motivated.

As you can see, installing the Promova app on your iOS or Android device can bring you a ton of benefits. In addition to Spanish, you can also start learning English, Korean, German, French, and some other languages. Get the application now, and say “Hola!” to your diverse linguistic future.


In our colorful journey through the Spanish language, we’ve uncovered the richness and diversity of hues that make up the palette of communication. From the primary colors that form the foundation to the subtle nuances of tertiary shades, we’ve learned how Spanish color vocabulary is used as descriptive adjectives, infusing life and vivid imagery into our conversations.

As you continue to learn and grow in your language skills, remember that colors are not just words but windows into the culture, art, and expression of the Spanish-speaking world. Whether you’re describing a fiery sunset, a tranquil forest, or the vibrant culture of a Spanish-speaking country, your command of color vocabulary allows you to paint a vivid picture with words.


How many colors are there?

Colors are a spectrum, and the number of colors can be infinite when considering all the shades and variations. While in terms of the standard color category, there are only twelve of them, the original number is close to millions and above.

Are there any idioms with colors in Spanish?

Absolutely, there are many of them! For example, the idiom “Príncipe azul” (literally – Blue prince) means “Prince Charming” or “knight in shining armor.” The phrase “media naranja” (literally – half orange) describes a soulmate or a better half. And the expression “ver la vida color de rosa” (literally – to see the world in pink) is the Spanish equivalent of the English phrase “to see the world through pink-colored glasses.”

What are some creative ways to incorporate Spanish color vocabulary into my daily language practice?

There are many ways, including labeling common objects in your house with their color names in Spanish, describing the colors of things you see during daily walks, and playing games like “I Spy” in Spanish. You can even follow Spanish-speaking artists on social media to learn about the colors they use in their work. 

Are there any mnemonic techniques or memory aids to remember Spanish color names more easily?

Sure thing! For example, to memorize a few shades or colors, you can create acronyms using the first letters (like BAR for blanco, amarillo, rojo). Another common technique is associating each color with something familiar. For instance, if you need to learn different shades of purple names, connect them with objects you know (lila with lavender, uva with grape, and morera with mulberry).


Caleb HartOct 19th, 2023
This article is perfect for both beginners!