Colors, Textures and Shapes Entry: Black

Real World Comparisons
Raven or crow’s wing
Bird’s eye
Volcanic rock
Animal’s nose
Dried poop
Burnt wood
Leopard’s spots
Zebra’s stripes
Poppy seeds…

Synonyms for Black: jet, ebon, ebony, inky, obsidian, onyx, sable, sooty

Make every detail count. Colors are powerful descriptors, not fillers. Make sure that if you use a comparison or contrast to highlight a color, you choose the right one. Look at the setting and atmosphere you are working to create, then draw from the viewpoint character or narrator’s history, education and past experiences to find the right fit.


Colors not only paint a picture for readers; when used well, they can also create emotional and symbolic harmonies.

Looking to add vivid imagery to your character’s world? This thesaurus has been expanded and integrated into our online library at One Stop For Writers. There, entries have been enhanced to include symbolism opportunities, a wealth of real-world comparisons that can be woven into your writing, and examples of how to describe colors and patterns in ways that engage the reader’s imagination. This collection is also cross-referenced for easy searchability so you can find exactly what you’re looking for. Interested in seeing a sampling of the updated Color and Pattern Thesaurus and our other collections? Head on over and register for free at One Stop!


Becca Puglisi is an international speaker, writing coach, and bestselling author of The Emotion Thesaurus and its sequels. Her books are available in five languages, are sourced by US universities, and are used by novelists, screenwriters, editors, and psychologists around the world. She is passionate about learning and sharing her knowledge with others through her Writers Helping Writers blog and via One Stop For Writers—a powerhouse online library created to help writers elevate their storytelling. You can find Becca online at both of these spots, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.
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Carrie Harris
11 years ago

Yeah, there’s nasty and then there’s NASTY. Terrific job of getting that across without ever saying it flat out.

11 years ago

Glad this helps, PJ!

Welcome, TereLiz–I hope we see you often!

Thanks Danyelle! Mary, I like dung beetles too–I mean rolling a ball of poo upside down? That takes talent.

Keri, glad the color thesaurus is helping!

Jessica, Becca added that one, and I LOL’d when I read it, cause it’s true!

Thanks Big Plain V!

I agree Spamwarrior–it’s all about what you want to emphasize.

Have a great day everyone!

11 years ago

The first is great… if you want to talk about her legs. But since it’s about the dress… I like the second description better. Great work!

Big Plain V
11 years ago

Thank you. And thank you.

11 years ago

LOL Dried poop? That cracked me up!

Keri Mikulski
11 years ago

Always looking for color words. Thanks! 🙂

Mary Witzl
11 years ago

Love the ‘soiled hospital linen legs’, though (the color of mine right now, come to think of it…).

And I like dung beetles too!

11 years ago

You gals are both amazing! Great list. 😀

11 years ago

Just discovered your blog. Loads of fun, and a great tool to help writers polish up those drafts. Keep up the good work!

PJ Hoover
11 years ago

Nice dung beetle! And great color to pick. The colors are my new favorite entries!