Wednesday, 6 May 2015
Will Black ever become the new White ?
Introduced in the seventeenth century
the word 'pink' (from German: pinkeln, to piss)
used to mean straw-yellow. In fox-hunting circles
it refers to scarlet coats made by Thomas Pink & co.
of London's Jermyn Street.
'Orange' came in with oranges around 1200
and comes from Arabic via Spanish (naranja).
'Maroon' used to mean horse-chestnut-brown
(marron in French), while 'mauve' and 'magenta'
are commercial inventions and refer respectively
to the mallow-flower
and a battle fought by the minor Napoleon in Italy.
In the same part of the palette
'puce' came much earlier
from the French for flea, and refers to
the tint (cf Spanish tinto meaning wine-red)
or hue of the crushed insect.
'Blue' comes from Norman French
for the bluish-grey of rotting corpses,
and has a Scandinavian root,
cognate with modern Danish bleg
(pronounced bligh and meaning pale).
Italian has the word blu for 'royal' blue
as well as azzurro (azure)
for sky-reflecting Mediterranean waters.
In Irish the word glas means
the blue-green-grey of the green isle's surrounding sea.
I find that most people in this technicolor time
are quite insensitive to the sixty shades of green.