“That happiness is what yellow looks like.”

I recently read a collection of short stories by William Trevor, the first of which is called “The Piano Tuner’s Wives”. The piano tuner is blind, but his wife, whose name is Violet, has a knack for explaining colors and other things to him so vividly that he can understand.

“Soft blue like smoke, she said about the mountains … He knew no more about smoke than what she had told him, but he could tell those sounds. He knew what red was, he insisted, because of the sound; orange because you could taste it.” (p. 6)

I thought about this story when I came across this list.


Before you look at the rest, think about how you would describe other colors to someone who can’t see. And then take a look at this Color Thesaurus to see just how many colors there are. Do you know all these words? Can you translate them into Japanese or another language you’re studying?


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