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The Quick 10: How 10 Colors Got Their Names

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When a flosser commented the other day that Alice Blue got its name from Alice Roosevelt, I started wondering what the stories behind other color names were. I love that kind of trivia, and figured you guys might be interested, too. Thanks for the idea, Kit!

color wheel1. Puce - "puce" means "flea" in French and fleas are generally a reddish-brownish-purplish color.

2. Alice Blue "“ Named after Teddy Roosevelt's eldest daughter, Alice, who had grayish-blue eyes. The Navy uses Alice Blue as one of the colors on its insignia.

3. Chartreuse "“ the traditional yellow color (the Web color chartreuse is different) was named because it was just about the same color as a French liqueur called yellow chartreuse.

The liqueur was named because it was produced by Carthusian monks whose headquarters, the Grand Chartreuse, was located in the Chartreuse Mountains in France.

4. Fuchsia was named for the color of the flowers on the fuchsia plant. The plant is named for Leonard Fuchs, a 16th-century botanist.

5. Mountbatten Pink was invented by Louis Mountbatten of the British Royal Navy during WWII. Louis Mountbatten noted that a particular shade of pink was just about the color of the sky during dawn and dusk and would be ideal for camouflage during those hours.

6. Prussian Blue is also called Berlin Blue, because the synthetic pigment was accidentally discovered in Berlin in 1704. It became Prussian Blue when the Prussian army dyed their uniforms with the pigment.

7. Tyrian Purple, AKA Royal Purple, was first used by the ancient Phoenicians from the city of Tyre. The dye was so expensive that only the very weathly could afford it, hence "Royal" purple. In Natural History, Pliny the Elder said the color was mixed just right when it looked like "clotted blood". Greek legend says that Hercules' dog discovered Tyrian Purple when he ate one of the snails that produces the dye.

8. Zinnwaldite "“ You probably know this color as "beige." It was named after the mineral zinnwaldite. AT&T's phones in the 1960s were first marketed as "zinnwaldite" colored, but when people found it easier to say "beige," the telecommunications giant rolled with it. Military combat boots are often zinnwaldite.

9. Cerulean. The color name has been around since 1590, at least, and probably has Latin roots - "caeruleus" means dark blue, blue or blue-green in Latin. In turn, "caeruleus" probably comes from the diminutive of the Latin word "caelum," which means heaven or sky.

10. Cerise. This one's easy - "Cerise" is French for "cherry," which comes from the Norman "cherise." "Hollywood cerise" is another name for the color "Fashion Fuchsia," which is a less-saturated verison of fuchsia that's often used for clothing.

Photo from Flickr user Jacinthe.

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Hulton Archive/Getty Images
6 Radiant Facts About Irène Joliot-Curie
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Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Though her accomplishments are often overshadowed by those of her parents, the elder daughter of Marie and Pierre Curie was a brilliant researcher in her own right.


A black and white photo of Irene and Marie Curie in the laboratory in 1925.
Irène and Marie in the laboratory, 1925.
Wellcome Images, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 4.0

Irène’s birth in Paris in 1897 launched what would become a world-changing scientific dynasty. A restless Marie rejoined her loving husband in the laboratory shortly after the baby’s arrival. Over the next 10 years, the Curies discovered radium and polonium, founded the science of radioactivity, welcomed a second daughter, Eve, and won a Nobel Prize in Physics. The Curies expected their daughters to excel in their education and their work. And excel they did; by 1925, Irène had a doctorate in chemistry and was working in her mother’s laboratory.


Like her mother, Irène fell in love in the lab—both with her work and with another scientist. Frédéric Joliot joined the Curie team as an assistant. He and Irène quickly bonded over shared interests in sports, the arts, and human rights. The two began collaborating on research and soon married, equitably combining their names and signing their work Irène and Frédéric Joliot-Curie.


Black and white photo of Irène and Fréderic Joliot-Curie working side by side in their laboratory.
Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Their passion for exploration drove them ever onward into exciting new territory. A decade of experimentation yielded advances in several disciplines. They learned how the thyroid gland absorbs radioiodine and how the body metabolizes radioactive phosphates. They found ways to coax radioactive isotopes from ordinarily non-radioactive materials—a discovery that would eventually enable both nuclear power and atomic weaponry, and one that earned them the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1935.


The humanist principles that initially drew Irène and Frédéric together only deepened as they grew older. Both were proud members of the Socialist Party and the Comité de Vigilance des Intellectuels Antifascistes (Vigilance Committee of Anti-Fascist Intellectuals). They took great pains to keep atomic research out of Nazi hands, sealing and hiding their research as Germany occupied their country, Irène also served as undersecretary of state for scientific research of the Popular Front government.


Irène eventually scaled back her time in the lab to raise her children Hélène and Pierre. But she never slowed down, nor did she stop fighting for equality and freedom for all. Especially active in women’s rights groups, she became a member of the Comité National de l'Union des Femmes Françaises and the World Peace Council.


Irène’s extraordinary life was a mirror of her mother’s. Tragically, her death was, too. Years of watching radiation poisoning and cancer taking their toll on Marie never dissuaded Irène from her work. In 1956, dying of leukemia, she entered the Curie Hospital, where she followed her mother’s luminous footsteps into the great beyond.

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Live Smarter
You Can Now Order Food Through Facebook
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After a bit of controversy over its way of aggregating news feeds and some questionable content censoring policies, it’s nice to have Facebook roll out a feature everyone can agree on: allowing you to order food without leaving the social media site.

According to a press release, Facebook says that the company decided to begin offering food delivery options after realizing that many of its users come to the social media hub to rate and discuss local eateries. Rather than hop from Facebook to the restaurant or a delivery service, you’ll be able to stay within the app and select from a menu of food choices. Just click “Order Food” from the Explore menu on a desktop interface or under the “More” option on Android or iOS devices. There, you’ll be presented with options that will accept takeout or delivery orders, as well as businesses participating with services like or EatStreet.

If you need to sign up and create an account with or Jimmy John’s, for example, you can do that without leaving Facebook. The feature is expected to be available nationally, effective immediately.

[h/t Forbes]


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