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  • 1 colours

    1) (the distinction of winning a place in the team in some sports: He won his cricket colours last season.) sélection (pour faire partie de l'équipe)
    2) (a flag: Army regiments salute the colours when on parade.) drapeau
    3) (a tunic of certain colours worn by a jockey to show that his race-horse belongs to a certain person.) couleurs

    English-French dictionary > colours

  • 2 Colours

    Not all English colour terms have a single exact equivalent in French: for instance, in some circumstances brown is marron, in others brun. If in doubt, look the word up in the dictionary.
    Colour terms
    what colour is it?
    = c’est de quelle couleur? or (more formally) de quelle couleur est-il?
    it’s green
    = il est vert or elle est verte
    to paint sth green
    = peindre qch en vert
    to dye sth green
    = teindre qch en vert
    to wear green
    = porter du vert
    dressed in green
    = habillé de vert
    Colour nouns are all masculine in French:
    I like green
    = j’aime le vert
    I prefer blue
    = je préfère le bleu
    red suits her
    = le rouge lui va bien
    it’s a pretty yellow!
    = c’est un joli jaune!
    have you got it in white?
    = est-ce que vous l’avez en blanc?
    a pretty shade of blue
    = un joli ton de bleu
    it was a dreadful green
    = c’était un vert affreux
    a range of greens
    = une gamme de verts
    Most adjectives of colour agree with the noun they modify:
    a blue coat
    = un manteau bleu
    a blue dress
    = une robe bleue
    blue clothes
    = des vêtements bleus
    Some that don’t agree are explained below.
    Words that are not true adjectives
    Some words that translate English adjectives are really nouns in French, and so don’t show agreement:
    a brown shoe
    = une chaussure marron
    orange tablecloths
    = des nappes fpl orange
    hazel eyes
    = des yeux mpl noisette
    Other French words like this include: cerise ( cherry-red), chocolat ( chocolate-brown) and émeraude ( emerald-green).
    Shades of colour
    Expressions like pale blue, dark green or light yellow are also invariable in French and show no agreement:
    a pale blue shirt
    = une chemise bleu pâle
    dark green blankets
    = des couvertures fpl vert foncé
    a light yellow tie
    = une cravate jaune clair
    bright yellow socks
    = des chaussettes fpl jaune vif
    French can also use the colour nouns here: instead of une chemise bleu pâle you could say une chemise d’un bleu pâle ; and similarly des couvertures d’un vert foncé (etc). The nouns in French are normally used to translate English adjectives of this type ending in -er and -est:
    a darker blue
    = un bleu plus foncé
    the dress was a darker blue
    = la robe était d’un bleu plus foncé
    a lighter blue
    = un bleu plus clair (etc.)
    In the following examples, blue stands for most basic colour terms:
    pale blue
    = bleu pâle
    light blue
    = bleu clair
    bright blue
    = bleu vif
    dark blue
    = bleu foncé
    deep blue
    = bleu profond
    strong blue
    = bleu soutenu
    Other types of compound in French are also invariable, and do not agree with their nouns:
    a navy-blue jacket
    = une veste bleu marine
    These compounds include: bleu ciel ( sky-blue), vert pomme ( apple-green), bleu nuit ( midnight-blue), rouge sang ( blood-red) etc. However, all English compounds do not translate directly into French. If in doubt, check in the dictionary.
    French compounds consisting of two colour terms linked with a hyphen are also invariable:
    a blue-black material
    = une étoffe bleu-noir
    a greenish-blue cup
    = une tasse bleu-vert
    a greeny-yellow dress
    = une robe vert-jaune
    English uses the ending -ish, or sometimes -y, to show that something is approximately a certain colour, e.g. a reddish hat or a greenish paint. The French equivalent is -âtre:
    = bleuâtre
    greenish or greeny
    = verdâtre
    = grisâtre
    = rougeâtre
    yellowish or yellowy
    = jaunâtre
    Other similar French words are rosâtre, noirâtre and blanchâtre. Note however that these words are often rather negative in French. It is better not to use them if you want to be complimentary about something. Use instead tirant sur le rouge/jaune etc.
    To describe a special colour, English can add -coloured to a noun such as raspberry (framboise) or flesh (chair). Note how this is said in French, where the two-word compound with couleur is invariable, and, unlike English, never has a hyphen:
    a chocolate-coloured skirt
    = une jupe couleur chocolat
    raspberry-coloured fabric
    = du tissu couleur framboise
    flesh-coloured tights
    = un collant couleur chair
    Colour verbs
    English makes some colour verbs by adding -en (e.g. blacken). Similarly French has some verbs in -ir made from colour terms:
    to blacken
    = noircir
    to redden
    = rougir
    to whiten
    = blanchir
    The other French colour terms that behave like this are: bleu (bleuir), jaune (jaunir), rose (rosir) and vert (verdir). It is always safe, however, to use devenir, thus:
    to turn purple
    = devenir violet
    Describing people
    Note the use of the definite article in the following:
    to have black hair
    = avoir les cheveux noirs
    to have blue eyes
    = avoir les yeux bleus
    Note the use of à in the following:
    a girl with blue eyes
    = une jeune fille aux yeux bleus
    the man with black hair
    = l’homme aux cheveux noirs
    Not all colours have direct equivalents in French. The following words are used for describing the colour of someone’s hair (note that les cheveux is plural in French):
    = blond
    = brun
    blonde or blond
    = blond
    = châtain inv
    = roux
    = noir
    = gris
    = blanc
    Check other terms such as yellow, ginger, auburn, mousey etc. in the dictionary.
    Note these nouns in French:
    a fair-haired man
    = un blond
    a fair-haired woman
    = une blonde
    a dark-haired man
    = un brun
    a dark-haired woman
    = une brune
    The following words are useful for describing the colour of someone’s eyes:
    = bleu
    light blue
    = bleu clair inv
    light brown
    = marron clair inv
    = marron inv
    = noisette inv
    = vert
    = gris
    = gris-vert inv
    = noir

    Big English-French dictionary > Colours

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