As different societies developed names for colors, across the globe, isolated cultures went about naming the colors, but weirdly, they all generally did it in the same order. Called the hierarchy of color names, the order was generally (with a few exceptions): black, white, red, green, yellow, and blue with others like brown, purple and pink coming at various times afterward.
Recent research in this area has demonstrated that this hierarchy matches humans reaction to different frequencies in the visible spectrum; that is, the stronger our reaction to that color’s frequency, the earlier it was named in the culture.
Want more specifics? Try these for English:
- Black – Derived from words meaning “dark”, “ink” and “to burn” or “blazing”.
- White – Derived from words meaning “bright”.
- Green – Derived from “grown”, also meaning “young” or “immature”.
- Orange – Derived from Sanskrit word for the fruit. Meaning, the color was named after the fruit, not the fruit for the color.