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Colours Vocabulary

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In American English colour is written "color" and grey is written "gray".

The 7 colours of the rainbow

The seven colours of the rainbow are the "visible" part of the electro-magnetic spectrum - they are visible to (or can be seen by) the human eye. A rainbow is what we sometimes see in the sky when the sun is shining and it is raining somewhere at the same time.

ultra-violet not a colour - invisible to the human eye
7 violet These are the 7 colors of the rainbow - the "visible spectrum" (visible to the human eye)
6 indigo
5 blue
4 green
3 yellow
2 orange
1 red
infra-red not a colour - invisible to the human eye

This mnemonic can help you remember the colours of the rainbow and their order: Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain

The prefix "infra-" means "below" or "under". In the electro-magnetic spectrum, infra-red is "below" the colour red (and not visible). The prefix "ultra-" means "beyond". Ultra-violet is "beyond" the colour violet (and not visible).

Black and white

Technically, black is not a colour (it is the absence of all colours), and white is not a colour (it is a combination of all colours). Grey also is not a colour since it is a mixture of black and white. But in normal language we usually describe black, white and grey as colours.


Three more very common colours

Brown is a very common colour and occurs a lot in nature. Silver and gold are shiny "metallic" colours.