Coloring the Page: Black

Okay all you Camp NaNo’ers (and the rest of us too!), here’s the next in our color synonym series. It can be tricky to find new words to describe blackness and darkness in the absence of color.

The handy “Descriptive Kaleidoscope” tool offers a few suggestions. For the full story behind it, see my original post here. Also, check out the previous entries for “Red,” “Blue,” “Green” and “Yellow.”

Charcoal: Black or grayish black
Coal: Very black and dull; no shine
Dusky: The darker shades of twilight; shadowy grays and dark blues and purples
Ebony: Dark, deep rich black
Inky: Dark bluish black
Jet Black: Dark, normally shiny or polished and solid black
Raven: Very dark black
Sable: Grayish yellow brown, leaning toward black
Shadowy: Absence of color; darker than dusky
Somber: Dark or dull in color

I think our word choices for black, more so than any other color, can automatically convey a mood to the reader. Ebony, for example, always seems regal to me, while Somber is…well, somber.


  1. Oh I love this, and is actually very helpful for me right now. I'm just working on a scene that involves a dark alleyway and I am sick of using the word 'dark' and 'blackness'. Thanks vey much :)

  2. Very useful! I once named a character Raven for the color meaning and what she can do magically. Most probably think of the bird, though. ;)

  3. This is so neat! What a way to get yourself using other color names.

  4. Very cool thing to have on hand when I'm struggling for just the right color word choice. I'll check out the one's I missed.

  5. Black is one of my favorite colors, now I have a bunch of new ways to describe it! Thanks :)