Tag Archives: etymology

Pink Used To Mean A Yellowish Color

Mental Floss has an interesting article explaining how back until about the year 1600, the word “pink” used to refer to the greenish-yellow color that lakes get from floating vegetation. This probably comes from the German word pinkeln, which means “to urinate”. But, “pink” has a lot of other meanings, including as a verb. So one of the definitions of “to pink” is “to perforate in an ornamental pattern”. No one’s sure how its meaning as a color went from urine-yellow to pale red, but the best theory is that it came from Queen Elizabeth. She loved pinked carnations, which happened to be colored pink (as in pale red) but were called “pinked” because they have notched, or pinked petals. So, the idea is that the word was first applied to the carnations because of pattern of the petals, but then people started using it to refer to the carnations’ color instead.

Pinked Pink Carnation

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From Mental Floss