I was asked today on Quora to explain why some people think “chartreuse” – which is a green-yellow color – is a kind of pink. My answer:

I confess I have been mystified by this question for some time. I’ve heard a lot of people say they remember that, as a child, they had a pink or red crayon called “chartreuse”. However, Crayola is by far the largest maker of crayons, and their “chartreuse” – introduced in 1972 – was a very bright green. That is what I remember from my childhood.


One hypothesis is that people mentally conflate “chartreuse” with “cerise” and “puce” simply because of the sounds of these words (all three borrowed from French). I think that makes a certain amount of sense, but it is backed by no evidence.

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