Etymology: Glaucous

I love learning new words when I read, and the word ‘glaucous’ was something new I came across recently. It means a dull grey-ish green or blue colour. It’s amazing how many new words for colours I pick up when writing or critiquing other people’s novels. If you are describing something as being a particular colour, using the word repeatedly gets dull and forces the writer to find more descriptive terms. This is why a thesaurus is an invaluable resource for a writer. Blue can be azure, cerulean, teal, indigo, cobalt or navy. Or many other choices, including glaucous.

So I had a look into the word glaucous to see how it originated. It turns out that the word, as well as being a colour, is also used to describe the powdery bloom that you get on grapes, and is also the name of a particular sea-bird: the glaucous gull. So named because of the greyish colour of it’s wings.

Glaucous-winged_Gull_RWD1The word glaucous has origins in both Greek and Latin, and was first used as a colour name in 1671. So I’m quite surprised I’ve never come across it before!

So when you’re writing, don’t stick with blue, yellow, green and red. Get creative and expand your vocabulary 🙂





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