Chartreuse: Red or Green? (and other colors)

What color is chartreuse?The color chartreuse is broadly remembered as a shade of red. Some recall it as a maroon-ish red. Others describe it as a reddish magenta.

The fact is, in this timestream, the color is yellow-green. The color gets its name from the liqueur, Chartreuse.

However, I clearly recall a discussion with my mother, an artist, about the color chartreuse. I was a teen and used “chartreuse” to describe a magenta-ish dress.

My mother couldn’t believe I was serious, and I remember looking in my childhood crayon box for a reddish crayon labeled “chartreuse,” but couldn’t find it.

It was a humiliating moment for me, because she was right and – in our household – that was like confusing Miro and Michelangelo. It just wasn’t done.

I didn’t think about it again until a comment about chartreuse appeared at this site. Then another did, and yet another. No matter how long I study this topic, I’m still astonished when a memory matches one of mine.

(Also, collecting comments for this article, I was amazed at how many there were. I’ve included many of them – not all – below, and apologize for the length of this article. I wanted to include enough to make it clear: This is a widespread alternate memory.)

Recent comments included the following.

In September 2014, Stephanie said:

I distinctly remember Chartreuse being a purple-pink color close to Magenta but a little darker. Less pink, more purple, but still too pink to be a true purple. I’m so confused??

In Oct 2014, Misty said:

…chartreuse was a dark red color…

Cas said:

I thought chartreuse was a rich sort of pinkish-magenta color?

I really thought chartreuse was a shade of red? Not green or yellow at all? When I clicked the Wikipedia link to see what color it is, I was so confused. I’m glad other people share in this confusion as well.
Seems like too pretty of a name for “lime green”. Ick. Doesn’t sit right with me.

I. K. said:

And yet the etymology makes perfect sense. Then again, that might be at the heart of the potential difference. So, if this Carthusian order, who’s liquor got the name associated with it, and lend itself to the name of the colour instead made a particular blend of red wine, perhaps Chartreuse would get a different colour association.

Honestly, without saying anything one way or the other on the matter, if I would have guessed without knowing, I’m certain I would have guessed it was a reddish colour. It does have the ring of a warm red drink to it.

(source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carthusians)

One of the JMs (we have two) said:

Yeah the whole color changing business is a weird one.

Tee said:

I asked a friend of mine, what color she remembers Chartreuse being and she remembers it as always being the yellow/green color, but she also remembers it as being part of a series of colors spanning yellow/green to red/pink/purple, which is very interesting. I myself remember it being the red/pink/purple color only and not the yellow/green that it is now(that looks and sounds way off) nor as part of a series of colors that are in different color groupings.

Natalie said:

I’m shocked that chartreuse is now suddenly a shade of green. I always thought it was a reddy/purple colour too. I have a vague recollection of thinking that chartreuse sounded french, like a red wine, so it made sense. And now it’s green? WEIRD! The mind boggles.

Rebecca said:

I most definitely remember chartreuse as being a dark purplish pink colour. My mum laughed at me when she realised that was what I thought. I was astonished to find it’s actually a yellow-green.

I remember it as being similar to the crayon marked “scarlet red” in this image: http://www.crayoncollecting.com/ccolor29_files/image035.jpg

Could it be something to do with them being in the same collection? The similarities of the words “chartreuse” and “cerise”?

jma said:

wow…
I remember a while back (maybe 12-15 years ago? I’m pushing 40 now) I was driving my car, describing something to my friend in the passenger seat and I used the word “chartreuse” . She was surprised and we ended up getting into a debate about the definition of chartreuse. I was shocked to learn that it was the color it is now (that yellow-green-aqua color)… and had to “eat-crow”, so to speak. BUT I had forgotten the color I previously thought it was, since I’ve known the “official” definition for so long. Upon reading your post, I realize the reddish color you describe is exactly the color I used to think it was.

Becca said:

I could have sworn that chartreuse was like a magenta colour. I remember watching (and yes, i know how this sounds) blues clues, and the guy went, red and purple make chaaaaarrtruuuuuuuuuse.

dm said:

I was more than positive chartreuse was a sort of purple color until a year or two ago.

Dani said:

Chartreuse was a pink color; I’ve ALWAYS associated chartreuse with pink (sort of a pinky-orange?), and never with anything green.

Jane said:

I have always been bothered by chartreuse not being a maroon color. It is NOT yellow-green, just no, that drives me crazy every time somebody mentions it! When I was younger, I would have sworn it was deep red/purple.

Rich said:

Had to make it all the way to the bottom [of the Major Memories comment thread] for someone to finally answer the Chartreuse question. And the whole time I was waiting for some one to say a pink/ashy purple. Glad someone else has a memory of that.  the Chartreuse question. And the whole time I was waiting for some one to say a pink/ashy purple. Glad someone else has a memory of that.

Lea said:

I could have SWORN that… chartreuse was a reddish-brown color. What the heck?!

In November 2014, Emily said:

Chartreuse is a wine red, I’ve had that argument many times.

Omer said:

– I know chartreuse was a pinkish color; I was watching a Modern Marvels episode on firefighting and they were talking about how some fire trucks are starting to be painted in chartreuse instead of red because of the increased visibility. I was curious what a chartreuse firetruck would look like so I went looking for pictures online, at which point I found out that chartreuse was basically neon yellow. I distinctly remember how weird this experience was for me, especially because I had never before heard someone refer to “neon yellow” as “chartreuse”. (I was watching this sometime in 2005, so I learned about chartreuse sometime before then)

Saffie Kaplan said:

I definitely thought chartreuse was some sort of purple. I remember asking my mom about it, which was the first time I heard of it as a yellow-green.

Rachel Lynn said:

When I think of Chartreuse, for whatever reason, the first colour that popped into my head was a blue-green colour, followed closely by thinking “wait, or maybe a pink colour.” I feel more strongly that its a blue-green, but yellow-green would never have been a guess, and the more k think about it the more i swear that it was blue-green crayon and i’m tempted to go find old crayons and look.

Morgan said:

Both my mom and I remember the color Chartreuse being a pinkish-purple color, almost like a neon purple. but most definitely not a yellow-green color.

Early in 2015, Hannah Carr said:

I swear to god chartreuse was like a dark red.

Chris said:

I also remember chartreuse as being a purple-ish color

Elise said:

Chartreuse is not yellow-green. It’s an orange fiery-red. I’m a synesthete with words and music. I had huge crayon boxes because I could not spell or write if words were not in the “correct” color (I couldn’t understand why other children didn’t get confused when, for instance, teachers wrote in colored chalk on the chalk board but wrote complete sentences in 1 color!). Luckily my gifted teacher researched my instances and realized it as synesthesia. She encouraged me to color code (which is the fist time I really understood math) and it allowed me to learn different languages at a young age (words which have the same meaning in another language represent in the same color – unlike music which seems to represent based on tonal sound).
All this to say that the word “aerospace” is a chartreuse word. In German the word “Raumfahrt” is also a chartreuse word. Both are a fiery orange-red.

Another Rachel said:

I used to think chartreuse was a dark red or burgundy color.

Cameron said:

Oh dear lord, i’m not alone. My whole life i thought Chartruese was a deep red or purple. I considered it my favorite color for a long time. It wasn’t until my sophmore year in highschool that i found out it was a light yellow or green. My best friend was ordering her dress and wanted my opinion. She said that she was getting it in Chartruse and i told her that was the one I thought would look nice, but the only picture she has was this gross pukey yellow and i said, “i’m glad you’re getting a different color than in the picture, because that is an awful color”. She then corrected me that the one pictured was the Chartrues one. I guess, all along the color i thought i loved was actually Mauve?

Donna said:

Yes chartreuse was a maroon-red color. It was only a couple years ago that I saw a crayon marked chartreuse and it was this awful green-yellow color, and I thought that Crayola must have made a mistake!

Do you remember chartreuse as green or pink-ish? Use the numbers on the following color wheel to indicate the color you recall as chartreuse.

Color wheel courtesy of Sylveno at Wikimedia Commons.

 

Author: Fiona Broome

Author and paranormal researcher, best known for starting Mandela Effect research (2009 - present), and her studies of ghostly phenomena.

119 thoughts on “Chartreuse: Red or Green? (and other colors)”

  1. My brother and I both remember chartreuse as a purple type of color. Definitely not green. Then I google it and was blown away. Today he found a clip of two for the money with Matthew McConaughey and AL pacino. In this scene there was an excited guy and his face got red and Jeremy Piven said his face was chartreuse. Just saying.

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  2. I came across this article a few weeks ago when lurking things about the Berenstein Bears. I was glad to see I wasn’t the only one to remember the things I remember, the way I remember them. I have always thought chartreuse was a lovely, deep shade of pink.
    Funnily enough, a day or two after reading about the chartreuse discussion, the colour was mentioned on the show I am currently marathoning, Xena: Warrior Princess. It is mentioned while discussing a horrible dress Xena has to wear while undercover. The dress is mostly a pink colour, with some very pale gold chiffon accents. I don’t think the gold colour is very close to what is shown when you google chartreuse (that yellow that resembles a highlighter), but the pink colour on the dress is very close to how I picture chartreuse myself.

    Here are two caps of the dress, as well as the quote that mentions its colour;


    “Bad dress? Xena, Chiffon is bad. Chartreuse is bad. But this is a disaster!”
    Xena: Warrior Princess – Season 2, Episode 11, “Here She Comes… Miss Amphipolis”. (1997)

    I’m not sure if this helps the discussion at all, but I thought it was quite interesting!

    (For the record, I fall on the Berenstein Bears side of the fence, as well as the side that recalls New Zealand, Japan, and other countries to have slightly different locations. I hope this helps with your research!)

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  3. I remember chartreuse being a reddish-pink type color. I was shocked and embarrassed when I learned that it’s a lime-greenish-tan color. I remember quite vividly that I had a girlfriend in high school who wore a chartreuse dress to a dance and I needed to find a cummerbund and bowtie that would match. I did and it was reddish-pink. Also, I bought her a corsage that was also chartreuse: reddish-pink. I’ve asked several people and they all know it as the color it is: lime–greenish-tan. This is very hard to wrap my head around.

    I also remember Berenstain Bears as Berenstein Bears, but this chartreuse switch up has to be the most striking change to me. I know in my gut that chartreuse used to be a reddish-pink color.

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  4. I think the people who remember Chartreuse as being reddish purple are confusing it was Cerise and Puce.

    And to whoever said she remembers blues clues saying it was red purple:

    Chartreuse: Don’t forget about me. I’m Chartreuse.

    Joe: Chartreuse. Are you looking for your color friends too?

    Chartreuse: Yeah, follow me! My friends are the two colors that mix together to make me, Chartreuse.

    Joe: All right colors get ready! Let’s see, so, is Chartreuse a yellowy orange color, a yellowy green color, or a reddish purple color? Which two colors will mix together to make Chartreuse?

    Kid: Yellow and green!

    Joe: Yellow and green!

    Yellow and Green: We make, Chartreuse!

    Joe: Yellow and Green make Chartreuse!

    Chartreuse: Thanks Bye!

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    1. Jacky, I’m approving this only because you’ve shared the Blue’s Clues dialogue from the chartreuse-is-green reality.

      The OP can respond, if these lyrics sound familiar, or if the dialogue from Blue’s Clues in the chartreuse-is-pinkish-purple reality is different.

      However, regarding your initial premise: the idea that we’re merely confusing chartreuse with cerise or puce is beyond insulting at this point. See Terms: Comments.

      I was going to edit your comment to remove the initial line. Then I decided it’s good to remind people of my comments policies, now and then, and to make it clear that — in most cases — I edit out that kind of assertion, or simply delete the comment.

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      1. I would like to address this post. As a child, I never even heard of cerise and puce. I do find it interesting, though, that according to Wikipedia, puce has two different meanings: one is a purplish-brown, the other is a sort of pea-soup green. The word comes from the French for “flea,” presumably from the reddish blood stains the bugs would leave on clothing, but apparently was misappropriated in the UK to describe green tea. Either way, it’s an unpleasant word reminiscent of “puke,” and I don’t think Crayola ever would have used it in the crayon collections that any of us used as kids! Neither do I recall ever hearing the word “cerise” in the art classes that I took, or seeing it in a box of colored pencils or crayons.

        I am betting that, on a different timeline, the Blue’s Clues crew sang “Red and purple (or pink) make chartreuse!”

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  5. See, this is where it would be useful to know how old people are. I was born in 1964. Chartreuse was always a bright yellow-green color, somewhere between 90 and 60 on that color wheel, with more yellow than green. I’ve always loved art and had crayons, colored pencils, and paints labeled “Chartreuse,” and they were always that yellowy-green. This is what my mother called it, too, so I’m guessing she grew up in the same timeline. (She was born in 1929.) I have NEVER heard it used to describe a reddish color, so this is very weird to me. At what point did this color become reddish-pink, and at what point did it switch back to yellow-green? Or did different people grow up in different time lines with different colors, and the time lines merged? Maybe we can figure it out by posting our ages, or at least approximate dates when our experiences happened.

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  6. I do have a memory probably from the 1970s of chartreuse being a magenta color. I remember talking to someone around that time about what color chartreuse was and they corrected me and told me it was a greenish yellow and I accepted their correction ever since just assuming that I had been wrong. I remember being surprised at that time.

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  7. Add me to the list of folks that remember chartreuse as being in the red-purple-magenta family.
    And I also recall puce being in the lime green family. In high school, many people wold comment that another school should change their team colors to “pink and puce” specifically because the pink/green combo would look goofy. There would have been no point in saying “pink and puce” if it meant “pink and pink”.

    There have been other things in my life along these lines where I would have sworn in court that a certain event or item was as I recalled only to find it missing or changed.

    And for the record, you can add me to the following lists.

    (Strong memories)
    Berenstein Bears
    Interview With _A_ Vampire (the “The” has been messing with me for years)
    _They_ will come.
    Luke, I am your father.
    A beautiful day in _the_ neighborhood. (one of my favorite childhood shows)
    Never found Lindbergh Baby
    Flesh colored (by name) Crayola Crayon in the 1980s
    Looney Toons (although my video collection of them all say “Tunes”)
    Fruit Loops (I remember this because as a child and teen I spoke the name as if the word Fruit had two syllables “fru-it” just to irritate people…wouldn’t have done that with Froot)

    (Weaker memories)
    Jiffy peanut butter
    Sex _In_ The City
    Billy Graham’s passing.
    Several other famous people passing when they are still alive.

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  8. Fiona, this is important,i can dare say urgent.Color blindness including very mild color blindness,affects the perception of green and red color,and mind you only these 2 colors!.While deuteranopia affects perception of green,protanopia affects red.In milder form they are called,deuteranomaly and protanomaly.And here’s the clincher,deuteranomaly(mis perception of green color) affects about 5% of males!.This mild color anomaly,otherwise,doesn’t affect normal functioning of day to day life.

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  9. To make my point clear,chartreuse being an uncomman name,has almost no co-relating reference point to reinforce its identity.So a person who is affected with deuteranomaly(5% of male population is)will perceive,whatever is labeled chartreuse or mentioned chartreuse,as whatever color that his condition allows him to perceive equating with more common words or combination of words,i.e pink, red, magenta, purplish pink.

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  10. I am over 55 and swear Chartreuse to be the pinkish purple color as others have said. about 15 years ago (2000)… I got a bright green snake for a classroom pet, and wondered what to call it. Someone suggested Chartreuse, and I thought…what an idiot, that means pink…Until I looked it up and saw the definition. Very strange to see I am not the only one who remembers it as pink.

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  11. I’m an odd duck. I distinctly remember chartruse being in the turquoise family. It was my favorite crayon because of the wrapper. I remember vividly the first time I came across the crayon in my first 64 pack. I was in kindergarten. The year was 1988. The brand was crayola and wrapper of the crayon was a red, black grey and turquoise argyle design. When I was in first grade I got an even larger pack, the 120 pack. It still contained the chartruse that I had the year before. Second grade came my mom bought me another 120 pack, I eagerly searched for chartruse and it was an awful pukey green, sort of like a highliter marker. I never even thought about that color/experience again really until I came to this site and started reading the comments. Does anyone remember a crayon like the one I described? Even just the wrapper would bring some relief to my worried mind.

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  12. This site is blowing my mind! I have had arguments about the color Chartreuse! In my time stream it is in the red/magenta section of the color wheel.

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  13. I feel like chartreuse is to pretty of a name for an unsightly yellow-green color.

    Chartreuse, I feel, should be a rose, burgundy, maroon, crimson color. RED. But seeing CHARTREUSE, it reminds me of the name of a wine, particularly red wine, which causes me to think oh red!

    I do think that I have a memory of using a burgundy red crayon with the name Chartreuse on it but I might be imagining it or adopting someone else’s memory(imagining what someone else said-possibly here in the comments)

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  14. I remember my 5th grade teacher reading to us “The Phantom Tollbooth” and when she got to a page where the author says the rocks turned “chartruse” she asked us to take out our crayons and find the color Chartreuse. IT WAS THERE! It was orangy. So I did some research and I find that Crayola had a color named chartreuse and later renamed it to be “Atomic Tangerine”. Either way, it was orangy not green!! Maybe that is how come so many of us remember it being a warm color not green!

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    1. Vivien, “The Phantom Tollbooth” was one of my favorite books, when I was a child. (It still is, now that I think about it.) What a great association with the color, too!

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    2. As far as I can tell, “Atomic Tangerine” was originally “Ultra Yellow” and “Laser Lemon” was originally “Chartreuse.” (See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Crayola_crayon_colors for example.) There are some sites that list the old & new names in jumbled-up tables that don’t actually correlate between old & new color names. (For example, at http://www.crayolacrayon.com/crayon-facts.html the colors obviously aren’t in the same order, or else it would mean they renamed “Hot Magenta” as “Blizzard Blue” and “Ultra Pink” as “Screamin’ Green.”) I haven’t been able to find anywhere that explicitly links “Atomic Tangerine” and “Chartreuse” as the same (renamed) color.

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      1. RA, that’s good research and fascinating trivia, but we’re wandering off-topic. What Crayola did in this reality isn’t the issue, unless we could use that history to explain a reasonable confusion over the color chartreuse. The color chartreuse is related to a green-colored wine created in 1737, and the name “chartreuse” (as a color) has been in use since 1884 — before Crayola started making crayons in 1903.

        So, anecdotal accounts — classroom memories, and so on — are more about why the person is sure the color chartreuse wasn’t a yellow-green. They give the memory a little more substance than someone vaguely saying, “Oh, chartreuse is kind of green? I don’t know why I thought it was pink, but I guess I was misinformed.”

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        1. I understand, Fiona. I guess I was just trying to figure out whether Vivian’s comment “So I did some research and I find that Crayola had a color named chartreuse and later renamed it to be “Atomic Tangerine”. ” was due to a misunderstanding based on the poor web design of the second page I mentioned or if there was actually a page that said that. The chartreuse color change is one of the MEs that isn’t a part of my reality, but it still fascinates me.

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          1. Been thinking about this for ages In the film the Lady Vanishes (1938). about Miss Froy going vanishing.. The Doctor Hartz asks the waiter for a Green Chartreuse, He specifically mentions Green. I am wondering Why he specified. It may be nothing, could be a time point.

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            1. Martin, what a curious reference! I had no idea that Chartreuse was available in different colors. Researching this, I discovered that there’s a Yellow Chartreuse (80 proof, v. the 110 of traditional Green), and an even milder White Chartreuse was available between 1860 and 1900. (Note: Still no pink-ish Chartreuse.)

              Also, I’m a huge fan of The Lady Vanishes, especially that early, Hitchcock version. Thanks for giving me an excuse to watch it again.

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              1. i am all for tracking down times and places where things happen.. Say someone from red world, remembers the film would it say red or green,, or nothing at all about the colour,, this way we can track in this reality it was green in 1938 (not sure if its in the book thats the next job). Not saying this is the only reality, but we can track a point in history where it was definitely that in this reality.. Love the older movies the lady vanishes, and then there were none.. have a encylcopedic memory of some films. as i said thought it was an interesting point in time/universes

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                1. Marc, I’m not sure about the context of your question. We’re talking about the color chartreuse, not the beverage, per se, though it’s clearly the source of the color name, at least in this reality.

                  If you’re asking about the different colors of Chartreuse (liquor), that’s in the history of the beverage, described at several websites. As best I can tell, the three colors have been green, yellow, and white.

                  Yellow is more rare, and I’d call it a yellow-green, from the photos I’ve seen. White hasn’t been manufactured for over 100 years. Today, most people know the green Chartreuse beverage, not the others.

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                  1. Fiona,
                    to me the chartreuse color was always a reference to the liquor, the green one. I wasn’t aware of the other colors… And so was Tarantino :p
                    Scene in the movie Death proof:
                    https://www.youtube.com
                    /watch?v=s7uIRg3bL54&feature=youtu.be

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                    1. Well, yes, Marc, but this is straying far from the topic, which is whether “chartreuse” was ever the name of a pinkish-reddish-purple-ish color, in this reality or any other. (For me, it was.)

                      The Chartreuse liquor is a reference point and it is the source of the green color name. But… it’s only a reference point. The real issue is the pinkish color called chartreuse.

                      What we’re looking for is whether this reality provided a foundation for a pink color called “chartreuse,” or whether this is 100% Mandela Effect, meaning that it comes from another reality.

                      I’m making allowances for language differences, but — really — I need to keep comments on-topic, or moderating loses much of its charm.

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    1. Interesting, William Martin! I checked that link (and this may reflect my monitor settings, at least somewhat), but the color looks right to me. (Which only means either I haven’t encountered a different “scarlet” in another reality… or I did, and didn’t pay attention to the name of it.)

      However, I’ve seen references in fiction that seemed to put “scarlet” in a more purplish context, and that’s always baffled me. So, I’ll be very interested in what others say about this color.

      (Also, I’ve moved this thread to the article about chartreuse and other colors. I think it may get more attention there, especially in the context of red/pink colors.)

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    2. William Martin, to me scarlet has always been a dark blood red, almost tinging toward purple. I don’t associate the color on that Wikipedia link with scarlet, and I also don’t like wikipedia’s definition: “Scarlet is brilliant red color with a tinge of orange”. It feels wrong.

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  15. Born 1994. I’ve always thought that chartreuse is a maroon-like color, something a couch might be, but I think it’s just because the word, well, sounds more purpley than yellowish.

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  16. I think those of us from the Baby Boomer generation and before know that chartreuse is a reddish burgundy. Todays generation has common core schooling, new math and I guess that must have changed the color of colors. In my home in the 1960’s growing up I completely remember my parents having a little tift, my Mother said her living room chairs were crushed velvet burgundy and her newly made lampshade was cartreuse and my Father said it was the opposite. I think my Mother won because she was also an artist.

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  17. My husband & I both remember it being in the 300-330 range, a reddish pink.

    I was trying to find out where the confusion originated, & 1 site (sorry, I don’t know which as I visited many sites before this) was talking about a box of crayons with a pinkish colour mislabeled as chartreuse, and hypothesizing that the widespread confusion originated from that; If you were a kid who paid attention to colour names and had access to the mislabeled crayons, you would be one of us who believed it the pinky colour.

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    1. Micki, I’ve heard the crayon story, too, but I think the “chartreuse is pinkish” idea dates to far earlier. That doesn’t mean a crayon company didn’t have a pinkish crayon in that color, but it might mean someone in design or management was certain chartreuse wasn’t green.

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  18. I’ve always considered it a wine red color, rather synonymous with burgundy (Which i remember being spelled “burgandy”, by the way.”. I do seem to recall being told it was a yellowish hue before, but I definitely know my earliest memories were of a wine-ish color slightly purple / red.

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