Dictionary definitions of colors are unhelpful.  I think that if you can’t provide an example of the color, the best approach is just to tell people to go find an example of the color.  Perhaps you can include a reference where they might find such an example.  Trying to describe the color in terms of other colors seems doomed to fail.  At the very least, such descriptions do absolutely nothing for me.

Here is one dictionary’s definition of the color “titian,” as I read it:

“Orange in such a way as to look very much like a different color.  Its relationship to a third color is more close than the relationship between that third color and some color of which you have never heard–although in a way that might be described as more colorful–but not to such a degree that it’s relationship is closer than that between the third color and yet another color of which you have not heard.  Furthermore, it looks rather like a sixth color, at least when compared to certain examples of the second color, or when compared to a seventh color that we have just invented by throwing random nouns together.”

From that I learn that titian is orange, which, as far as I can tell from the internet, it certainly isn’t.

I think there’s a rubric for making up color names, and special rules for using those names.  As I read though color definitions, all of them seem to end with mention of a color I’ve never heard of, and all of those final references have names that follow this formula:  element + living thing.

Here then is a list of colors I’ve invented.  I will leave it to someone else to define them, although I’m confident that none of them is orange:

Rubidium Azalea
Tungsten Gundi (which sounds like a character in a book)
Osmium Stork
Astatine Weevil
Lanthanum Lily
Aluminum Sheep

This is perhaps why I don’t work for Crayola.


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