Humanities › History & Culture Latin-Based Words for Colors and Other Things These words were borrowed from Latin and have become common in English Share Flipboard Email Print David Clapp/Getty Images History & Culture Ancient History and Culture Rome Figures & Events Ancient Languages Greece Egypt Asia Mythology & Religion American History African American History African History Asian History European History Genealogy Inventions Latin American History Medieval & Renaissance History Military History The 20th Century Women's History View More By N.S. Gill Ancient History and Latin Expert M.A., Linguistics, University of Minnesota B.A., Latin, University of Minnesota N.S. Gill is a Latinist, writer, and teacher of ancient history and Latin. She has been featured by NPR and National Geographic for her ancient history expertise. our editorial process N.S. Gill Updated November 04, 2019 English has a lot of words of Latin origin. In fact, 60 percent of the English language comes from Latin. Here are some Latin words—in this case, adjectives—for colors: prasinus, -a, - um: green purpureus, -a, -um: purple (purple) caeruleus, -a, -um: blue (cerulean) lividus, -a, -um: black and blue (livid) niger: black (denigrate) ater, atra, atrum: black (dark) (atrabilious) fuscus, -a, -um: dark (obfuscate) ravus, -a, -um: gray canus, -a, -um: gray or white (hair) albus, -a, -um: white (alb) flavus, -a, -um: yellow (pale) (riboflavin) fulvus, -a, -um: golden yellow croceus, -a, -um: saffron (crocus) ruber, rubra, rubrum: red (rubella) roseus, -a, -um: rose-red (rose) Other Latin Words Imported Into English Some Latin words are changed to make them more like English words, often by changing the ending (e.g., "office" from the Latin "officium"), but other Latin words are kept intact in English. Of these words, some are unfamiliar and are generally italicized or placed in quotation marks to show that they are foreign, but others are used with nothing to set them apart as imported. You may not even be aware that they are from Latin. Here are some such words: Latin Word Definition English Derivatives villa villa, house villa, village, villager alta tall, high, deep altitude, altimeter, alto antiqua antique, old antique, antiquity, ancient longa long longitude, longevity, long magna large, great magnify, magnificent, magnitude pictura picture picture, picturesque, pictorial nova new novice, novel, novelty, nova, Nova Scotia terra land, earth terrier, terrace, terrestrial, terrain prima first prime, primary, primitive, primeval sub under subway, subterranean, suburban corna horn cornucopia, cornet, clavicorn est is estate, establish, essence habere have have, habit, habitual casa small house casino via street via parva small parval, parvanimity lata wide, broad latitude, lateral, latitudinal bona good bonus, bonanza, bona fide copia plenty copious, cornucopia, copiously fama fame fame, famous, infamous provincia province province, provincial, provincialism multa many multitude, multiple, multiplex nominare to name nominate, nominal, name, nominative postea later postlude, postgraduate, posthumous non not nonfction, nonmetal, nonexistent in in in aqua water aquatics, aquarium, aqueduct, aqueous agricola farmer agriculture bestia beast bestial, bestiality figura figure, shape figure, figurine, figment, figurative flamma flame flame, flamboyant, flambeau herba herb herb, herbivorous, herbage insula island insular, insulate, insularity lingua language language, lingual, linguistics nauta sailor nautical, nautilus pirata pirate pirate, piratical schola school scholar, school, scholastic alba white albino, albinism albumen amica friendly amicable, amicability, amity beata happy beatific, beatify, beatitude maritima sea maritime mea me me, my mira strange miracle, miraculous, mirage nota noted noted, note, notice, notable, noticeable obscura dark obscure, obscured, obscurity periculosa dangerous perilous, peril propinqua near to propinquity pulchra beautiful pulchritude quieta quiet quiet, quietude, disquiet circum around circumstance, circumnavigate, circumspect filia daughter filly, filial folium leaf foliage, foliaceous, foliar aureus golden aurorial, aurorean, aurous plumbeus leaden plumbing, plumbous, plumbic, plumbeous mutare to change mutation, commute, transmute vulnerare to wound vulnerable, invulnerable, vulnerary vitare to avoid inevitable, inevitably, inevitability morbus disease morbid, morbidity, morbific populus people populous, population, popular radius ray radius, radial, radiation arma arms (weapons) arms, armed, armament, army saxum rock saxatile, saxicoline, saxifrage evocare call forth evoke, evocable, evocator femina woman feminine, effeminate, femme densa thick dense, densely, density territa frightened terrified, terrific Translating Latin Into English Whether you want to translate a short English phrase into Latin or a Latin phrase into English, you can't just plug the words into a dictionary and expect an accurate result. You can't with most modern languages, either, but the lack of one-to-one correspondence is even greater between Latin and English. Cite this Article Format mla apa chicago Your Citation Gill, N.S. "Latin-Based Words for Colors and Other Things." ThoughtCo, Aug. 27, 2020, thoughtco.com/words-for-colors-in-latin-121490. Gill, N.S. (2020, August 27). Latin-Based Words for Colors and Other Things. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/words-for-colors-in-latin-121490 Gill, N.S. "Latin-Based Words for Colors and Other Things." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/words-for-colors-in-latin-121490 (accessed May 13, 2021). copy citation Use These Latin Words in English Conversations Word Triplets in the English Language Vulgar Latin Latin Words in English Greek and Latin Roots Cognate: Definition and Examples The Etymology of Words and Their Surprising Histories SAT Latin Subject Test Information Loanwords in English Cognates Are Words That Have Similar Origins The Benefits of Learning Latin Latin Adjectives 1st and 2nd Declension Etymon Nominative Case in Latin How to Conjugate the Irregular Latin Verb Sum "To Be" An Introduction to German "Loan Words"