Word for Wednesday: Brown

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In February, we are continuing with the Word for Wednesday theme of colours

The word colour entered English via Old French and comes from the Latin ‘color’, from the Old Latin ‘colos’ meaning ‘a covering’, from the PIE root ‘kel-’ meaning ‘to conceal’. The word has been used in reference to skin colour since the early-thirteenth century and in reference to pigments and dye since the fourteenth century. 

The spelling colour became the common English spelling from the fourteenth century, but a classical correction made color an alternative from the fifteenth century. Color is now the common American English spelling of this word. 

So far we’ve looked at the words redorangeyellowgreen, bluepurple, and pink. Our final word of the month is brown.

Brown is the colour of wood, soil, tea, and coffee. It is made by mixing the three primary colours: red, yellow, and blue

Brown comes from the Old English ‘brun’ meaning ‘dark’ or ‘dusky’. It has been used to refer to the colour since the thirteenth century. ‘Brun’ comes from the Proto-Germanic ‘brunaz’, from the PIE root ‘bher’ meaning ‘bright’ or ‘brown’. The Old English word also had an idea of ‘brightness’ in its meaning – like a dark polished surface that reflects light, as seen in the word ‘burnish’ which also comes from ‘bher’ and means ‘polish’.


24 Feb 2021
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One of the students has put in a huge amount of effort in completing Spellzone at least 3 times a week since his arrival with us in January. Looking at his scores after the latest GL testing, his standardised score has risen from 99 to 131. This is a truly phenomenal result. I just wanted to share the best result I have ever seen.

Terrie Penrose-Toms, Casterton College

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