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I recently saw the name of a color that I had not seen before: cyan, dark blue, derived from cyanide. That made me wonder if there is a dictionary online with words describing various colors, especially some of the more unusual ones. I found none, though I did find this website: various colors

Do any of you know of unusual names for colors? A more specific question: are gray and grey absolutely synonymous?
 
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Oddly, AHD and M-W are in conflict on the etymology of cyan.

AHD says it comes from "Greek kuanos, dark blue".
M-W says "Etymology: Greek kyanos" (but won't let me link to the exact page frown).

Online Etymology doesn't list this word, but under "cyanide" it does say "Gk. kyanos 'dark blue enamel, lapis lazuli'."

musamuse, HELP! confused
 
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I knew cyan! Well that is a first!

Anyway, my daughter informed me today that the kitchen in her apartment had been painted "Nantucket Blue". I didn't want to tell her that it was the same color we painted the outhouses at Girl Scout camp though! wink
 
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quote:
are gray and grey absolutely synonymous?
I think so. The spelling gray is just the US variant spelling. Blame Noah Webster.
 
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My source said it was from cyanide.... I should have looked further, I guess.

How about puce? A deep red or dark, grayish purple. I really don't understand its etymology--from Latin pulix or French puce, meaning flea??? The fleas I have seen are not deep red or purple!
 
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I hasten to state that I am no expert on fleas. roll eyes

However, I would guess that once a flea has become engorged with its host's blood, it would become a dark brownish-purple colour.
 
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If you are working with colours on your computer there are two sets of initials that you will come across.

The first is RGB, which stands for Red, Green, Blue. Your monitor displays the RGB colours; mix together red, green and blue light in various proportions and you can get any other colour. These are the primary colours of light.

The other is CMYK, that is, Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and (oddly) Black. This is used in printing; mix together pigments in these colours and you can obtain any other colour. In fact, black is not strictly necessary, but the result of mixing the other three colours comes out rather muddy, so black ink is used in addition. These are the four process colours. If you have a colour printer attached to your computer it will use inks of these four colours.

If you produce work for printing (as opposed to simply being displayed on a computer screen) it is necessary to convert files from the RGB colour space to the CYMK model. Here's a page that describes it rather better than I can: http://www.pixelphoto.com/htdocs/html/rgb_cmyk.html
 
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quote:

AHD says it comes from "Greek kuanos, dark blue".
M-W says "Etymology: Greek kyanos" (but won't let me link to the exact page ).




'kyanos' and 'kuanos' are just different transliterations of the same Greek word which means, as you have already said, deep blue. 'kyanos' is the more acceptable spelling as the Greek letter 'upsilon' is usually transliterated as 'y' in English, except in the word 'upsilon' as I have just noticed!
 
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Thanks, Morgan! How timely.
I looked up "puce" in our Grandiloquent Dictionary (not the online one, but the 1972 edition by Russell Rocke) and found the definition to be "brownish purple"....now that would make more sense with the flea etymology. Still, I am confused. confused
 
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I found a few more that I wasn't familiar with:

adust scorched or burn-darkened brown
gridelin grayish violet
piebald having patches of black and white, or less frequently, other colors
 
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gamboge A strong reddish yellow.

vermilion A vivid red pigment of durable quality. It is a chemical compound of mercury and sulfur.

dun A dingy grey color.

smalt A deep blue paint and ceramic pigment produced by pulverizing a glass made of silica, potash, and cobalt oxide.
 
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Okay, I guess I am a dunce, but I always thought livid was red; whenever I am livid, I am redfaced! However, "livid" actually is "dull grayish blue"; you're so mad that you're not far from death's door! mad
 
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I have thought always of livid as a sort of bluish-white, as in "white-faced with rage".
 
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I never thought of livid as a color...only anger! But AHD says:

1. Discolored, as from a bruise; black-and-blue.

2. Ashen or pallid: a face livid with shock.

3. Extremely angry; furious.

So, I learned something new!
 
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Yes, using livid to describe a bruise (or ecchymosis to those of us in healthcare) really was new to me. The Grandiloquent Dictionary, which described livid as dull, grayish blue, also described perse as deep grayish blue. Quite similar!
 
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I found the name incarnadine which means pale red or pink, flesh-colored (Caucasian)

Interesting word...and interesting description!
 
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Since this thread is titled "rainbow" ...

A gallant young man of Dusquene
Went home with a girl in the rain;
She said, with a sigh,
"I wonder when Igh
Shall see such a rain-beau again."
 
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Just found... murrey ~~ (noun and adjective) dark red
 
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Says Morgan:
I found the name incarnadine which means pale red or pink, flesh-colored (Caucasian) Interesting word...and interesting description!

Doubly interesting. I'd understood it differently, and when I looked it up I found that this word has two contradictory meanings.

incarnadine (AHD):
1. Of a fleshy pink color.
2. Blood-red.
 
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Years ago I learned that glaucous referred to a bluish-white color. It was used primarily to describe a waxy bloom on a plant part, such as a leaf, fruit or twig. I've since read it can refer to green-yellow, pale yellow-green, blue-green, blue-gray or gray - www.m-w.com, www.dictionary.com and www.botany.com.

Plant Identification Terminology, An Illustrated Glossary, Second Edition, 2001, gives the following definitions involving color:

Cinereous. Ash-colored; grayish due to a covering of short hairs.

Glaucescent. Somewhat glaucous; becoming glaucous.

Glaucous. Covered with a whitish or bluish waxy coating (bloom), as on the surface of a plum.

Grenadine. Bright red; the color of pomegranate juice.

Hoary. With gray or white short, fine hairs.

Incanous. With a whitish pubescence.

Incarnate. Flesh-colored.

Myochrous. Mouse-colored.

Nigrescent. Blackish.

Niveous. White. (AHD: resembling snow; snowy.)

Persicicolor. Peach-colored.

Pruniose (pruniate). With a waxy, powdery, usually whitish coating (bloom) on the surface; conspicuously glaucous, like a prune.

Puniceous. Crimson colored.

Purpurescent. Becoming purplish.

Rufous (rufus). Reddish-brown. (AHD: Strong yellowish pink to moderate orange; reddish.)

Sanguine. Blood red.

Sanguineous. Blood red.

Stramineous. Straw-like in color or texture.

Tawny. Tan in color.

There may be more, but that's all I found.

Tinman

[This message was edited by tinman on Tue Oct 22nd, 2002 at 22:41.]
 
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Yes, and the answer is both color related and one of my favorite stories about how words evolve. I don't have the reference right here before me so the following is from memory though I'm pretty sure I can recall all the steps.

The word is from the French for buffalo and was originally used in the western states and territories for the hide of that animal. (Yes, yes, before someone jumps on that "error," the hides in question were from the bison since the buffalo, while similar in appearance, is native to Africa. It's an error so commonly made that the two words are practically interchangable these days, a whole 'nother thread entirely.)

The connection of "hide" and "skin" is the obvious source of "in the buff" meaning in nothing but one's skin.

The hides were often used to make the uniforms used by the Army of that time so that to say that you were "in buff" (without the "the") meant that you were in the Army.

The hides had a dark mustard yellow color and so "buff" became the name of that particular tint, a color you can still find in artists' paint supply stores.

In the later part of the 19th century, the uniforms of the New York Volunteer Fire Department were buff yellow in color. From this came the noun "buff" meaning someone who did something without being paid for it. Hence opera buff, film buff etc.

I hate to say it but I think there were two or three more steps involved. I'll have to look it up again. To take the progression on to the next step, I suppose a person who enjoyed Playboy magazine and others of that ilk could be termed an in-the-buff buff.
 
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As this thread sunk into oblivion, I missed the above! Great discussion, guys. BTW, don't you think we need more girls on this board?

I saw another word that I believe best belongs here: procryptic, meaning protective coloring or camouflage for an animal.
 
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Just took a quick browse through the bios of our regulars to find:

Male - Arnie, Asa Lovejoy (though where has he gone lately?), Richard English, Bob Hale, Shufitz, and myself.

Female - Angel, Kalleh, Morgan, and Museamuse.

Genderless, not that there's anything wrong with that (Jerry Seinfeld again) - Hic et Ubique (same note as Asa Lovejoy), Tinman (granted, probably male), Wordnerd, and Wordcrafter.

Sorry if I've missed anyone. If we should ever get together for anything along the lines of a drunken orgy and pair off, I claim dibbs on Angel, Kalleh, Morgan, and Museamuse. The rest of you guys are on your own.

[This message was edited by C J Strolin on Tue Nov 12th, 2002 at 9:51.]
 
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CJ comments, "I claim dibbs on Angel, Kalleh, Morgan, and Museamuse."

Note the implied boast that he can keep them all happy.
 
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If the shoe fits....



Hey, CJ? What am I? Chopped liver?
 
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Oh, CJ! You want ME in your harem? wink
 
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quote:
Originally posted by C J Strolin:
Genderless...Tinman (granted, probably male)


Genderless, yes; sexless, no. Yes, C J, I am probably male. If I were probably female I would be a woman, not a Tinman.

Tinman

[This message was edited by tinman on Mon Nov 11th, 2002 at 23:06.]
 
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OK, first off, apologies to you, Sarah. Chopped liver, you definitely are not. You are also not one of the most frequent posters, however, which is why I missed you when I took my brief rush through a dozen or so threads looking for names. I'm sorry, I'm sorry, my forehead scrapes the floor. (and, come to think of it, no one ever got back to me with where the hell that phrase came from!)

Secondly, yes, well, while a harem, to be perfectly honest, may make for a pleasant daydream, the reality of such an endeavor is fraught (FRAUGHT, I say!) with drawbacks. For one, a menage a six (the French dictionary wouldn't download for me for some reason; sorry) is something that, Yes!, I could handle, thank you very much, though admitedly the foreplay would probably kill me. I can hear the rejoinder from W. C. Fields now: "Death, where is thy sting?!"

Thirdly, the sexiest thing about me is my fingertips, not in the way they're able caress a woman's body but rather in how they tap against a keyboard. With the sexiest organ of the human body obviously being the brain, I am already enjoying the intellectual intercourse of all five gorgeous women on this board and, for that matter, the men as well as long as you don't go off the deep end linguistically with the term "intercourse" there. (Not that there's anything wrong with that!)

In short, Welcome to the Orgy!

Lastly, the board says that we have some 60 members but it seems like this distills down to a dozen or so regulars. Even taking into account a bit of sock-puppetry, where is everyone else??

Also, I editted my post only to correct a minor typo ("gon" to "gone") and see that the post now shows that I had revisited it. I've noticed that when I go back to make other minor corrections right after I post, this note dosen't appear. How long of a time period do we have to make corrections before the system prints out this announcement?
 
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CJ asks: "How long of a time period do we have to make corrections before the system prints out this announcement? "

Another good question, which I have no answer for! This software did not come with a manual. Most of what we do here is trial and error. I know I have corrected my own posts as much as 30 minutes later without the annoying update at the bottom, but how long after that is anyone's guess.

And I thank you for including me, CJ. I make infrequent posts, but do monitor what happens here and try to act in as official capacity as I can.

Reminder to all, if you have any questions that you don't wish to post here, we do have a Private Topic section all are free to use. The only folks who can read the private topic are those you invite into the conversation. An administrator can not read your private messages unless invited to it, as any other participant.
 
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Much to my kids' delight, my eye doctor recently told me that I was somewhat color-blind; now my kids understand why I love bright colors! Anyway, I tried to find a word for color-blind through Google and dictionary.com and came up with Daltonism - inability to distinguish reds and greens or achromatic vision - inability to distinguish differences in hue. Is the latter the general term for color-blindness? Also, I found this great link for doing a quick color blind test on yourself. By the way, I passed this one!
 
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Ahh, good, this thread hasn't been locked. Wink

My daughter asked a question which I couldn't answer, and I thought maybe someone here would know--or at least might know where I might find the answer.

Why do red lights mean "stop"? She thinks that, since red means passion, the red light should mean "go". She says that blue or green are cooler colors, meaning calmness, and would better mean "stop". Is it because red is such a bright color? Does anyone know?
 
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Interesting - although the first traffic lights were installed in London, England - not Cleveland.

Richard English
 
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quote:
Originally posted by Richard English:
Interesting - although the first traffic lights were installed in London, England - not Cleveland.

Richard English


Do you remember a long time ago when bags of crisps (that's chips to you guys over the pond) had "interesting facts" printed on the back. I ask because I'm absolutely certain that one of the "facts" reproduced there was that the first Traffic Lights in England were installed in Wolverhampton. I recall it particularly because going to school in Wolverhampton it was a source of much amusement every time we encountered it.


Edited to add

A few minutes Googling turned up this

Motoring History

which has as its first reference to traffic lights

quote:
1927
Automatic traffic lights installed in Leeds and Wolverhampton.



Purgamentum init, exit purgamentum

Read all about my travels around the world here.

[This message was edited by BobHale on Thu Jan 2nd, 2003 at 3:29.]
 
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In fact, the first ever traffic light (not automatic) was installed in London in the 19th Century. It was powered by gas and it blew up, injuring the policeman operating it.

The USA takes the title for the first automatic elctric traffic lights.

Richard English

[This message was edited by Richard English on Thu Jan 2nd, 2003 at 4:36.]
 
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quote:
Originally posted by Richard English:
In fact, the first ever traffic light (not automatic) was installed in London in the 19th Century. It was powered by gas and it blew up, injuring the policeman operating it.

The USA takes the title for the first automatic elctric traffic lights.



Were the ones in Leeds and Wolverhampton perhaps the first automatic ones in England then ?

Purgamentum init, exit purgamentum

Read all about my travels around the world here.
 
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I would assume so - although I'm surprised that London was not the first recipient, considering how much larger and busier it is than Leeds and Wolverhampton - even combined!

Richard English
 
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Thanks for the discussion. Interestingly, I don't really have an answer. In arnie's first link they said that red was the obvious choice for "stop", though there were no clear choices for "go" or "caution". Yet in the Bad Astronomy link it seemed as though "red" is the worst color for fog. Also in that thread they bring up an interesting point....the most common color-blindness is for red/green.
 
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A study was done a short while back to determine which color of flashing lights best grabbed a driver's attention. Along with red, as you would expect, other colors and combinations of colors were tested. The purpose of this study was to see if the flashing red lights atop police cars could be improved upon (he said, ending a sentence with a preposition, and any pedant wishing to argue can go suck an egg). Turns out the winner was a combination of red and blue, something you often see in your rearview mirror these days if you happen to have a lead foot.

Which brings to mind... I know it's illegal to sport such lights atop your own private car but might it be permissible to mount flashing green and purple lights up there instead? I think it would be a real hoot to try this and then pull someone over to give them a grammar test!

(Then again, it might be a felony so I'll leave it to a more adventurous Wordcrafter than myself to take this idea and run with it. Let me know how it works out.)
 
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Emergency vehicles such as the police, fire engines and ambulances over here use blue flashing lights. I'd guess that those are more easily seen than the red or red/blue lights in the USA.

Vehicles such as towtrucks and hazards such as lorries carrying large slow-moving loads carry amber flashing lights.
 
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Arnie, that makes sense with that earlier discussion about red being hard to see in the fog. I know that England has more than its share of fog.

I have heard (though this may not be true--it came from my teenage son) that traffic lights are made to sense flashing lights so that they can react to emergency vehicles. That means, according to my wayward son, that if you flash your lights at a traffic signal, it will change faster. He also said, however, that police will ticket you for it--if they happen to see it. I would imagine this is a great big myth. Does anyone know?
 
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quote:
Originally posted by Kalleh:


I have heard (though this may not be true--it came from my teenage son) that traffic lights are made to sense flashing lights so that they can react to emergency vehicles.


I haven't been able to find it on snopes (well apart from a discussion on the message board where there was considerable disagreement) but I believe this to be an urban legend.

While it might be a good idea to allow emergency services such freedom I can think of a several very good arguments against this.

For a start it would be quite hard to implement a system that reacted to emergency vehicles but not any other kind of flashing light.
Another point would be what happened if it failed - or if the lights on the vehicle failed? Would the ambulance or whatever heading at speed for the lights continue on until it reached the point where it couldn't stop in time if they failed to change? Sounds like an accident waiting to happen to me.

Of course he main argument against is that it would be a hopelessly complicated solution to the problem. If such a system were required then a much simpler, more reliable and less problematic solution would be to fit a remote control that could be activated from the vehicle. At the touch of a button the lights could be made to change and it would be under the control of the driver.
I don't believe this is done either but why would they go to the trouble of devising a complex and unreliable system when there is an obvious simple and effective one ?

Purgamentum init, exit purgamentum

Read all about my travels around the world here.
 
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I posted the question over at snopes because it piqued my curiosity. As an answer someone pointed me here and here so it looks as if in the US at least this might well be true.
However I have never heard of such a system being used in the UK and when I use Google restricted to UK sites I get no relvent hits.
Searching US sites reveals lots of similar ones to the two listed above.

Purgamentum init, exit purgamentum

Read all about my travels around the world here.
 
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quote:
I know that England has more than its share of fog.
I don't really know about that. I'd guess that an area in the US like Cape Cod has more fogs than anywhere in England. Several cities in the US are badly affected with smog, such as Los Angeles; although I won't pretend that the air quality is good in British cities it doesn't approach the levels of pollution achieved in many US cities.
 
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A hundred years ago London was the World's largest city and its huge population used coal fires as a heating source. When the weather conditions caused a temperature inversion fog formed which was rapidly polluted by the coal smoke, giving rise to the famous London "Pea-soupers" (so called because of their yellowish colour). To the coal smoke was added the emissions from steam locomotives and power stations, fumes from thousands of gas lamps, as well as the exhaust from London's rapidly growing numbers of motor vehicles.

In the 1950s a succession of pea-soupers caused so much disruption (as well as thousands of deaths) that the government of the day introduced the Clean Air Act which banned the use of fuels that produced smoke. The legislation, combined with advances in heating and vehicle technology meant that the air quality began to improve.

London is not, in fact, a fog-prone city (as is, for example, Los Angeles) and fogs are relatively rare now.

The image of Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson riding in a Hansom down a gaslit Baker Street in a pea-souper is, though, still the surprisingly persistant image that many foreigners have of London!

Fortunately for this traditional image, though, London still has many gaslit streets.

Richard English
 
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arnie states: "Cape Cod has more fogs..."

and Richard English states: "and fogs are relatively rare now."

I have never heard fogs. I would have said "Cape Cod has more fog..." and "and fog is relatively rare now."

How about the rest of you? Is this a Brit vs U.S.'n thing again? Confused
 
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quote:
Originally posted by Morgan:
I have never heard _fogs_. I would have said "Cape Cod has more fog..." and "and fog is relatively rare now."

How about the rest of you? Is this a Brit vs U.S.'n thing again? Confused


I don't know about the US but certainly fog can be either a countable or an uncountable noun over here.

I was out in the fog.

(Uncountable - refering to the substance "fog".)

Yesterday we had a fog, tomorrow we expect another.

(Countable - a single instance of fog descending on the city or wherever.)

It's quite common to use thee plural form in the UK.

Purgamentum init, exit purgamentum

Read all about my travels around the world here.
 
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Morgan, yes, I have heard "fogs" and "a fog" here in the states. I certainly believe all of you from the UK regarding your fog. However, our friends from Manchester see it differently. Now--there is quite a difference, in my mind, between "fog" and "smog". I think of LA as being "smoggy", while Seattle is "foggy".

Bob, thanks so much for those sites on flashing lights. Interestingly, the sites are from cities in the Chicago area--near my home. I have seen the flashing white lights on the traffic signals when emergency vehicles approach. Still, I wonder if flashing one's headlights actually would stimulate them. I doubt it.
 
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