They’re not really new, though. Pink was in the US Top 1000 back in the nineteenth century – for boys! Botanical names have been around for ages. Lots of possibilities aren’t exactly color names, but conjure up specific hues – Leo makes us think of the shade of yellow-brown that characterizes a lion’s fur. Water and sky-related names often read blue.
Some do seem like a challenge. Cerulean is a mouthful. You might wear a sweater in shades of Claret or Merlot, but odds are you wouldn’t consider them for a child’s name. Cordovan seems like a great name for a boy, but does it really scream color name? Crayola has called crayons asparagus and canary, but even in our permissive naming moment, these are not viable options for children.
Here’s a list of some of the most appealing choices, both those widely used and those not so familiar – but wearable nonetheless. This is the first part in a series – because there really are too many great color names to cram them all into one post!
Color Names for Kids: Pink and Red
Carnelian – A dark, rich red, and an unexpected way to get to Carrie.
Cerise – A vivid shade of pink and the French word for cherry. A 30 Rock character answers to a possible nickname form: Cerie.
Cinnabar – An unusual ends with r option for a girl, one associated with China and the color of blood. Crayola often calls it red-orange instead.
Crimson – A vibrant color with ties to the University of Alabama, one that works well for either gender.
Fuchsia – Another pink pick, one that’s both colorful and botanical.
Garnet – A gemstone and a very dark red.
Henna – A flowering plant used to make the traditional dye used to color hair and create elaborate body art. Henna might seem like a stretch, but the reddish-brown hue is used as a given name in Finland, a feminine form of Henry.
Poppy – One of the most promising fresh floral names, poppies come in many colors. But it is the red poppy used for symbolizing war remembrance that gives its name to the deep red color.
Rose – Like many a plant, roses come in plenty of shades. But the color rose is definitely pink, and has been for centuries.
Ruby – Among the most popular of the jewel names for girls, Ruby red.
Rufus – Is he too subtle to count as a color name? Directly from the Latin word for reddish, Rufus was worn by several early saints. William II of England is better known as William Rufus thanks to his ruddy complexion.
Scarlett – One of the most popular color names today, worn by a feisty Southern belle and a Hollywood starlet.
Vermilion – Another alternative name for cinnabar.
Color Names for Kids: Orange and Brown
Coral – A pinky orange shade with a long history of use as a given name, Coral boasts appealing ties to the sea.
Sienna – A warm reddish-brown color, Sienna is also boosted by the Italian city of Siena, and hobbled by the Toyota mini-van of the same name.
Color Names for Kids: Yellow
Goldie – A shining name borrowed from the Yiddish word for gold. Golda is another form, as in form Israeli prime minister Gold Meir.
Jonquil – A type of yellow flower, Jonquil has lent its name to that particular hue.
Marigold – Another borrowing from the plant world, sometimes said to be a reference to the Virgin Mary.
Saffron – A yellow-orange spice, and the name of Edina’s long-suffering daughter on staple Britcom Absolutely Fabulous.
Tune in soon for the next installment: green and blue!
Would you ever consider a color name for your child? Are there any shades of red, orange, or yellow that should be on this list?