Monday, March 7, 2011


Honeysuckle is not a color term in Nathan Moroney's color thesaurus, meaning none of the contributors to the online color naming experiment ever mentioned this term. It is a reddish pink, which is a color term in his dictionary. Unfortunately Google's Book Ngram Viewer is not of much help, because it cannot distinguish the color term from the widely distributed climbing shrub with tubular flowers that are typically fragrant and of two colors or shades, opening in the evening for pollination by moths. • Genera Lonicera and Diervilla, family Caprifoliaceae (the honeysuckle family).

Indeed, the graph (click on it for a larger view) shows a much higher frequency for honeysuckle than for rose pink, which is just a color term and would be more frequent than honeysuckle.

Click for larger view

Nevertheless, this year you will hear it often used as a color term. Indeed, Pantone has declared it the color for 2011. Its formal specification is PANTONE 18-2120 Honeysuckle.


"In times of stress, we need something to lift our spirits. Honeysuckle is a captivating, stimulating color that gets the adrenaline going — perfect to ward off the blues," explains Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute. "Honeysuckle derives its positive qualities from a powerful bond to its mother color red, the most physical, viscerally alive hue in the spectrum."

Eiseman continues, "The intensity of this festive reddish pink allures and engages. In fact, this color, not the sweet fragrance of the flower blossoms for which it was named, is what attracts hummingbirds to nectar. Honeysuckle may also bring a wave of nostalgia for its associated delicious scent reminiscent of the carefree days of spring and summer."

Now we have to see how long it will take for honeysuckle to show up in Nathan's color dictionary and thesaurus.

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