The almond-tree at the bottom of my garden, having the courage of its convictions, has spoken a pink word. ~Louis Golding, “Emméline and Her Tower,” 1919
Take the word waken, now. That’s a white word, kind of still, with no sound to it. Sundown. That word has got gold edges all mixed up with red. April is a pink word and soft as moss on a tree. Bird… that’s a word you can feel in your hands, round like. Maybe the best word of all is twilight. It’s blue and it smells like spicewood. Sunday is a purple word and wind is a green word and it has a taste like ripe Mayapple. They ain’t nothin’ in all the world like words. ~Alma Robison Higbee (1893–1969), “Words for John Willie,” 1946
‘Friable’ is a dark cinnamon-colored word. Almost all words do have color and nothing is more pleasant than to utter a pink word and see someone’s eyes light up and know it is a pink word for him or her too. You can get into rather warm arguments over a definitely dark green word that someone insists is beige. ‘Murder’ is a slush-brown word edged with magenta. It is not a good idea to go around explaining about the color of words in strange company. Some people give you such a sad critical look, and their heads shake slightly. ~Gladys Bagg Taber, “May,” Stillmeadow Daybook, 1946–1955 [a little altered
You want to paint a soft and pretty picture?
Choose a pink word.
If you wish it clear and lucid, make it blue.
If you’d put the pulse of spring into expression
Make your text a lively green, and sprinkle through
The subtle tint of apple blossom hue…
Add a slight amount of citron, violet —
Just enough to punctuate the conversation…
In anger hurl a pungent, fiery red word…
Color your speech chic, or witty, wise, or gay —
There are words for every shade of what you say.
~Thelma Scott Kiser, “Shades of the King’s English,” 1966
The long hard to say blue fat little word
The strong, surprising, shaking, long, scarey word
The great pulsating, secreteing throbbing pink word
~Student writing samples in Robert de Beaugrande, Text Production: Toward a Science of Composition, 1984