The Quote Garden ™
I dig old books. ™
the Color of Words
& Pink Words
Welcome to my page of quotations about the color of words. —ღ Terri
You will hardly believe the difference the use of one word rather than another will make until you begin to hunt for a word with just the right shade of meaning, just the right color for the picture you are painting with words. Have you thought that words have color? ~Laura Ingalls Wilder, speech, Mountain Grove Sorosis Club, 1936
I write for beloved friends who can see color in words, can smell the perfume of syllables in blossom, can be shocked with the fine elfish electricity of words. ~Lafcadio Hearn (1850–1904), letter to B. H. Chamberlain
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 –tg]
My mistress spoke to me in the red-purple words of the Portuguese, in the blue-green words of the English, speaking to me as if I were a child so I could learn it easily. ~Patricia Finney, Gloriana's Torch, 2003
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
For me words have color, form, character; they have faces, ports, manners, gesticulations; they have moods, humors, eccentricities; they have tints, tones, personalities... ~Lafcadio Hearn (1850–1904), letter, 1893
Each word is different, with a different shape, size, and color, perhaps with a picture attached, or a taste or touch or smell, or a tag on it that tells what kind of job it has to do as it floats or marches or hops along in parades called sentences... Notice how clusters of words change color like white light shining through a prism, or how mixtures of words combine in chords as tones do in music. ~Harry Behn (1898–1973), "Concerning Words," 1967
And there are words that strain like April hedges
Upward, lonely words with tears on them;
And syllables whose haunting crimson edges
Bleed: "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem!"...
~Joseph Auslander, "Words," Sunrise Trumpets, 1924
HA! An exclamation of surprise used in connection with other dark blue words when you step on a tack. ~Noah Lott (George V. Hobart), The Silly Syclopedia, 1905
Behind him a sentence burst into a brilliant green... ~Jane Yolen, Wizard's Hall, 1991
My name — Maggie — is blue; deep blue with pink piping. Your name — Etienne — is tall, golden wheat blowing in a field. I've always associated names and numbers with colors. My therapist calls it synesthesia or something. It's just something that happens in my head. If I try to see the color of words in history, or science, or Spanish class, I remember better. It's pretty cool. I do it with songs too. Jerry Garcia's guitar notes always sound like bursting grapes; piano sounds like cool, blue running water; Hendrix is tie-dyed music. You probably think I'm crazy. ~John Gordon, Maggie's Hope, 2012 [a little altered —tg]
Because people cannot see the color of words, the tints of words, the secret ghostly motions of words:—
Because they cannot hear the whispering of words, the rustling of the procession of letters, the dream-flutes and dream-drums which are thinly and weirdly played by words:—
Because they cannot perceive the pouting of words, the frowning and fuming of words, the weeping, the raging and racketing and rioting of words:—
Because they are insensible to the phosphorescing of words, the fragrance of words, the noisomeness of words, the tenderness or hardness, the dryness or juiciness of words; the interchange of values in the gold, the silver, the brass, and the copper of words:—
Is that any reason why we should not try to make them hear, to make them see, to make them feel? ~Lafcadio Hearn (1850–1904), letter to B. H. Chamberlain
Words have magic, and they have power. Words have color, a vivid brilliant red. Words can be drab, an old battleship gray. Words can soothe, and words can ruffle. ~Author unknown, 1940s
I am just a vessel
That songs sing through
Old songs and new
Pink songs and blue
I am just a vessel
That songs sing through...
~George Elliston, "Symbol," 1924
I have run home to my room and have lighted a light. Words flow. What has happened? Bah! Such tame, unutterably dull stuff! There was something within me, truth, facility, the color and smell of things. Why, I might have done something here. Words are everything. I swear to you I have not lost my faith in words.
Do I not know? While I walked in the street there were such words came, in ordered array! I tell you what — words have color, smell; one may sometimes feel them with the fingers as one touches the cheek of a child.
There is no reason at all why I should not have been able, by the instrumentality of these little words, why I should not have been able to give you the very smell of the little street wherein I just walked, made you feel just the way the evening light fell over the faces of the houses and the people — the half moon through the branches of that old cherry tree that was all but dead but that had the one branch alive, the branch that touched the window... ~Sherwood Anderson, A Story Teller's Story, 1924
A light and shade, E green, I blue, U purple and yellow, O red,
All over my soul and song your lambent variations are spread.
A, flaming caravans of day advancing with stately art
Through pale, ashy deserts of grey to the shadowy dark of the heart;
Barbaric clangor of cataracts, suave caresses of sails,
Caverned abysms of silence, assaults of infuriate gales;
Dapple vibrations of black and white that the bacchanal valleys track;
Candid and waxlike jasmine, amaranth sable black.
E, parakeets of emerald shrieking perverse in the trees,
Iridescent and restless chameleons tremulous in the breeze,
Peace on the leaves, peace on the sea-green sea,
Ethiopian timbrels that tinkle melodiously:
I, Iris of night, hyacinthine, semi-green,
Intensity of sky and of distant sea dimly seen,
Chryselephantine image, Athena violet-crowned,
Beryl-set sistra of Isis ashiver with infinite sound:
Bells with amethyst tongues, silver bells, E and I,
Tears that drip on the wires, Æolian melody!
U, torrid bassoons and flutes that murmur without repose,
Butterflies, bumblebees, buzzing about a hot rose;
Upas-flower bursting, thunder, furnaces, sunset, lagoon;
Muted tunes of the autumn, ruby, purple, maroon:
O, orange surface of bronze, topaz-spotted brocade,
Sorrow and pomp of the Orient, colour and odour and shade,
Ebony and onyx corollas opening to the sun;
O, lotus-glory Olympian, glory of God that is One!
O, crimson clarion horn that echoes on in the bold
Old omnipotence of power; O, rosy glow of gold!
These are the miracles and I make them day and night:
O red, U purple and yellow, I blue, E green, A black and white.
~John Gould Fletcher, "The Vowels" (To Leon Bakst)
Sometimes the air is blue, so blue
And once I saw it vivid red,
Sometimes it is as grey as age
Or white as pale words lightly said...
~George Elliston, "Color of Air," 1926
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
published 2002 Aug 26
revised 2018 Apr 10
last saved 2023 Oct 26