Colors

Below is a list in Arabic of some of the more common colors.

 

Color

Plural (M. and F.)

Feminine

Masculine

Black

سودٌ

سَوْداءُ

أَسْودُ

White

بيضٌ

بَيْضاءُ

أَبْيَضُ

Red

حُمرٌ

حَمراءُ

أَحمَرُ

Green

خُضرٌ

خَضْراءُ

أخْضَرُ

Blue

زُرْقٌ

زرْقاءُ

أَزْرَقُ

Yellow

صُفْرٌ

صَفْراءُ

أَصْفَرُ

 

The masculine singular forms of the colors above have the same pattern as elatives and are diptotes. However, they are not used as elatives, but as regular adjectives. The feminine forms are also diptotes and are also used as regular adjectives. Note that the feminine pattern differs from the feminine elative (compare كبْرى, the feminine form of أكْبَرُ, to any of the feminine adjectives above). The plural forms are all triptotes. Below are examples of these colors used in sentences.

 

1. I bought a red car.

١. اشتريتُ سيارةً حمراءَ

2. His house is green.

٢. بيتُهُ اخْضرُ

3. We live in the yellow house at the end of the street.

٣. نسكن في البيت الاصفرِ في آخر الشارع

4. We all live in the yellow submarine.

٤. نسكن كلنا في الغواصةِ الصفراءِ

5. The government is trying to solve the problems between blacks and whites.

٥. الحكومة تحاول ان تحل َ المشاكل بين السود والبيض

 

 

 

 

 

In sentence one, the feminine form for “red” is used to modify the feminine noun. Since the masculine and feminine forms of these adjectives are diptotes, the adjective for red in the sentence does not have nunation.

 

In sentence two, the masculine form for “green” is the predicate of the equational sentence. Again, since it is a diptote, it does not take nunation even though it is indefinite.

 

The third sentence uses the masculine form for “yellow” in a definite noun-adjective phrase. Since the adjective is now definite, it will show a regular genitive case ending, as is the case with all diptotes when they are made definite (or are the first term of any idaafa, even an indefinite idaafa).

 

The fourth sentence shows the feminine form for “yellow” used in a definite noun-adjective phrase. Again, although the adjective is a diptote, it will show a regular genitive ending because it is definite. Now I know the song goes “We all live in a yellow submarine.” How would you produce that sentence and what case endings would you put on “yellow?” The answer is below.

 

نسكن كلنا في غواصةٍ صَفراءَ

 

The word for yellow in the sentence above shows a fatha instead of two kasras – as would any indefinite diptote put into the genitive case.

The fifth sentence shows the use of the masculine plurals for “black” and “white.” Keep in mind that the masculine and feminine plurals for the colors will only be used when referring to human beings, so you won’t see them too much.

As you might suspect, adjectives of color also have dual forms. For example, the dual of اسود is أسودان and the dual of سَوداء is سَوْداوان. You won’t see the dual forms too often.

Arabic also has nouns for colors equivalent to English terms such as “blueness,” “greenness,” and “blackness.” These words are listed below.

 

Blackness

سَواد

whiteness

بَياض

redness

حُمرة

greenness

خُضرة

blueness

زُرْقة

yellowness

صُفْرة

These nouns are used in تمييز constructions in order to indicate that something is “redder” or “greener” than something else. For example:

 

The waters of the Nile are bluer than the waters of the Potomac.

مياه النيل اكثرُ زُرقْةُ من مياه البتوماك

 

Other colors

Not all colors have the pattern of the colors discussed above. Most commonly you will see:

 

Orange

بُرتقاليّ

Brown

بُنيَ

rose-colored, pink

وَردي

 

 

 

These are made feminine by adding a ة.

 

In addition, there are two colors usually used to refer only to human beings. They have the same pattern as the majority of colors we have discussed:

 

Color

Plural Fem.

Plural Masc.

Fem. Sing.

Masc. Sing

blond, fair-skinned

شَقْراوات

شُقْرٌ

شَقْراءُ

أشْقَرُ

brown-skinned

سَمْراوات

سُمْرٌ

سَمراءُ

أسْمَرُ

 

 

 

For these two colors, the feminine plurals are sometimes used, referring, of course, to human beings.

 

 

3 comments… add one
  • The sentence above after the note about of تمييز should be مياه النيل أكتر زرقةً من…

    Reply
  • i am very thirsty Arabic language so for this i am wanted to get some other learning inst ration from this last post .
    thank you

    Reply
  • Wow, this was great! As Bill pointed out earlier, should tamyeez not be in nasb case?

    Reply

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