Colors in Vietnamese: Names, expressions and interesting facts

Colors in Vietnamese

When delving into the Vietnamese language, exploring colors in Vietnamese becomes an intriguing linguistic journey. The way colors are expressed carries cultural significance and sheds light on the uniqueness of this language.

1. How to say colors in Vietnamese?

To gain a clear understanding of colors in Vietnamese, let’s start with the essential term “màu”, which means “color”. This word is usually used before a color’s name, but it can be omitted. Below are some prevalent color names within the Vietnamese language:

Basic colors:

  • Red: màu đỏ
  • Black: màu đen
  • White: màu trắng
  • Yellow: màu vàng
  • Violet: màu tím
  • Green: màu xanh lá
  • Blue: màu xanh biển
  • Brown: màu nâu

Metallic colors:

  • Gold: màu vàng kim
  • Silver: màu bạc
  • Bronze: màu đồng

To express shades of colors in Vietnamese, you can use “nhạt” for lighter tones and “đậm”, “sẫm”, or “thắm” for darker shades. For instance:

  • Light red: màu đỏ nhạt
  • Dark red: màu đỏ đậm/màu đỏ sẫm

Colors in Vietnamese

2. Meaning of colors in Vietnamese cultures

The significance of colors in Vietnam culture is undeniable. Each color in Vietnamese holds a distinct meaning, reflecting the country’s rich traditions. Understanding these cultural nuances is crucial when delving into Vietnam’s society:

  • Red: In Eastern societies, especially in Vietnam and China, red is considered a symbol of luck and prosperity. It is believed to bring financial success and happiness. This color is often utilized in festive occasions, weddings, and celebrations, reflecting its deep-rooted significance as one of Vietnamese lucky colors.
  • Black: In modern life, black, among popular colors in Vietnamese, is considered a symbol of sophistication, elegance, and refinement. This perception is most evident in fashion design, where black suits and dresses evoke a sense of power and mystique.
  • White: Often associated with purity and simplicity, white embodies the essence of Vietnam. A white lotus, for instance, symbolizes Vietnam’s inclination towards humility and nobility. Yet, in the realm of color meanings in Vietnam, white also carries a somber connotation – a representation of mourning and loss.
  • Yellow: Yellow in Vietnamese represents prosperity, wealth, and royalty. In traditional festivals and ceremonies, the presence of yellow is common, signifying good fortune. It is a color that has deep cultural roots, making it an integral part of Vietnamese celebrations.
  • Violet: Violet represents passionate and romantic love. This hue mirrors the trust shared between partners and, most importantly, expresses the tender and modest connection of a marital relationship that lasts until the end of time.
  • Green: The colors in Vietnamese culture are deeply significant, and green is no exception. As a symbol of agriculture, freshness, and abundance, this color represents the bountiful nature of life. In Vietnamese traditions, green symbolizes harmony with nature.
  • Blue: Blue in Vietnamese culture carries profound significance, symbolizing intellect and refinement. This color also conveys a sense of modesty, reminiscent of the blue attire worn by scholars in the past. This cultural interpretation of blue highlights its role in signifying knowledge and sophistication.
  • Brown: When it comes to colors in Vietnamese culture, brown bears a special connotation, symbolizing simplicity. It embodies the attire of the common Vietnamese farmers during feudal times, representing humility.

Colors in Vietnamese

3. Facts about colors of Vietnamese flag, hair and eyes

  • Vietnam flag: According to Nguyen Huu Tien, the flag’s designer, the red background color of Vietnam flag signifies the blood and sacrifice of Vietnamese people in their struggle for national freedom. Meanwhile, the yellow star mirrors the tone of Vietnamese skin color. This symbolism of colors in Vietnamese flag is a powerful representation of the shared values and unity of Vietnamese people.
  • Vietnamese hair: The prevalent Vietnamese hair color is black. However, for fashion-forward reasons, many people decide to change the color of their hair. Particularly, the younger generations display a greater inclination to explore and experiment with their looks.
  • Vietnamese eyes: Like most Asian people, the typical Vietnamese eye colors are black and brown.

Colors in Vietnamese

4. Popular color idioms in Vietnamese language

In daily life in Vietnam, idioms play an active role in conversations. Colorful expressions are also woven into Vietnamese idioms, adding a poetic layer to communication. Some popular idioms that include colors in Vietnamese are:

Red:

  • “Đỏ như son”: red as a lipstick
  • “Đỏ da, thắm thịt”: to say someone has rosy skin that looks healthy
  • “Đỏ mặt tía tai”: to express red-hot anger

Black:

  • “Đen như mực”: black as ink
  • “Đen như gỗ mun”: black as ebony

White:

  • “Trắng như tuyết”: white as snow
  • “Trắng ngà”: somewhat white as ivory
  • “Trắng như ma”: pale as white
  • “Giấy trắng mực đen”: in black and white, figuratively
  • “Đổi trắng thay đen”: to say someone attempts to change the truth, from white to black

Yellow:

  • “Vàng như nghệ”: to say someone is frightened

Green:

  • “Xanh như tàu lá chuối”: pale as green banana leaves
  • “Giận xanh mặt”: to say someone is very angry

Silver:

  • “Đầu bạc răng long”: to express a wish for a couple to live happily together until their hair turns silvery white
  • “Bạc tình bạc nghĩa”: to say someone is unfaithful
  • “Bạc như vôi”: to say someone has a hard life

Colors in Vietnamese

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Colors in Vietnamese

 

Colors in VietnameseColors in Vietnamese

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In conclusion, colors in Vietnamese offer more than just linguistic expressions. They are a window into the cultural nuances that the Vietnamese language beautifully encapsulates.

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