- question of the week - color of the week  
   
 
                                 
           

Brown

Regarding the spectrum, brown is a difficult color. Brown surface absorbs all wavelengths to some extent, but yellow / orange slightly less than others. This implies that in terms of brightness, brown appears as "dirty" yellow / orange, the color that emerges as the light of these wavelengths hits the eye.

Brown shades are not the brightest of colors and they are associated with down-to-earth attitude, naturalness and modesty. Brown can be found all around the world, for instance, as earth colors. Umbra, ochre and sienna are general designations referring to the variety of shades, red, yellow, orange and brown that are extracted e.g. from soils impregnated with iron oxide.

In Finnish literary language, brown originally denoted red. Mikael Agricola, a scholar of the 16th century, called the Red Sea "the Brown Sea". And even in the Finnish dictionary by Elias Lönnrot (19th century) brown signified dark red, reddish brown or copper color. Sunset and dawn, in Finnish "iltarusko" and "aamurusko", derive from the word "ruskea", brown, and its ancient meaning "red". Nowadays Finnish people hardly conceive of the phenomena as brown - even if the word "rusko" still remains in the terms. Similarly, in Karelian language, brown means red. For instance, "ruskieniekka" (brown person) refers to a person dressed in red, and "ruskieparta" (brown beard) to red beard.