I’ve posted recently on color idioms and color name sites; here are a couple more color-related tidbits.
1) Stan Carey has a post about a Scientific American article by Melody Dye on “why it’s so difficult for kids to learn words for colours, and how it can be made easier for them.”
2) A MetaFilter post by nangar collects a number of color-related links, beginning with David Wharton’s Latin Color Bibliography, which “collects quotations from ancient literature and modern research on how languages classify colors, and tries to work out the meanings of color words in classical Latin.”


  1. Another site worth checking out is
    I’ve been having a lot of fun with it recently.

  2. Athel Cornish-Bowden says

    Did your site get hacked? This morning there were lots of comments in this thread, but now they’re almost all gone.

  3. I suspect you’re thinking of this thread. Sorry, I’m making too many color posts!

  4. Athel Cornish-Bowden says

    Yes, you’re right: I was looking for the other thread.

  5. Bizarre. I have three children – I never noticed that any of them had any particular difficulty learning words for colors. Maybe I will have to give the three year old that test.

  6. “why it’s so difficult for kids to learn words for colours”: the expression “job creation scheme” comes to mind, unbidden.

  7. I suppose job creation schemes involving “kids” are not so much “shovel-ready” as “snotter-ready”.

  8. Eh? I don’t think they teach sailing in the schools these days.
    More seriously, the word snotter is new to me, though not to the OED (which snottily characterizes it as Sc. and northern) or to NID3. (AHD4 and RHD2 know it not, nor does, so it is apparently un-American.) However, it is not clear to me whether you use it in the OED’s first sense as a synonym of snot, or in the third sense as a synonym of snotrag (or even a stealer of same).

  9. dearieme says

    Snot comes in two forms (I suggest): sticky and runny. Snotter is the latter form. English English is often oblivious, I find, to fine distinctions that are made in Scottish English. Though neither, I admit, seems to have nouns that distinguish the two forms of earwax.

  10. I am embarrassed to say that I never noticed that there are two forms of earwax. Probably most anglophones have not noticed it, given that there is only the one word …

  11. After a look at WiPe on earwax, I now understand that the two kinds are not found in the same individual.
    And after a couple of minutes with Google Translate I can report that German and Dutch call ear wax Ohrenschmalz and oorsmeer respectively. Yum.

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