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Updated on February 9, 2012

Puce, the most misunderstood color

Puce is one of those colors that, like the nerdy girl in the third grade, is often misunderstood and even considered ugly. But if you give it a chance puce can be interesting and beautiful, just like that geek goddess waiting to blossom.

Photo credit: gailf548

What color is puce? - Reddish-brown or purplish-brown?

Just what color IS puce? Every definition you find will tell you that puce isn't so much a color as a range of colors, usually stated as ranging from reddish-brown to purplish-brown. To confuse the issue further, the hexidecimal code (or hex code, the way of definition a color in HTML) for puce is commonly accepted to be #CC8899, which is more of a rosy pink color.

Which of these is what you think of as puce?

Reddish-brown, duh!

Reddish-brown, duh!

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    • Sherry Venegas 6 years ago from La Verne, CA

      just pink?

    • CCGAL 6 years ago

      Though I hate to admit my ignorance, I always thought puce was a hideous shade of yellow-green.

    Purplish-brown, obviously!

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      • anonymous 4 years ago

        Must correct my prior post...ventre de puce means "flea's belly."

      • anonymous 4 years ago

        i saw on another site it is purplish brown here in USA and bright green in other countries! What the heck?

      • anonymous 4 years ago

        I am going with the version Marie Antoinette wears in that painting people use to define puce. It's a gorgeous deep brown-purple. I read an article saying the term came from her husband, and that varying shades of puce were developed to reflect the different colors of different ages and sizes of dead fleas. There's an article saying that she insisted all women in her court wear puce or ventre de puce and a few other variations. I have tried to find a definition, in English, for ventre de puce (I think it means "Window Puce") with no luck. But it may be that the reason there is such a range of colors for puce is that different shades were created to reflect different types of flea stains.

      • Dee Gallemore 6 years ago

        More purplish-brown IMHO

      • anonymous 6 years ago

        purplish-brown? yeah, that's right!

      • Susanna Duffy 6 years ago from Melbourne Australia

        And with a very faint hint of pink

      • resabi 6 years ago

        I need a reddish-purplish brown option! But I've always put it more toward purple even though I would describe fleas as more red-brown.

      • Rachel Field 6 years ago

        I always thought it was browny pink! Just to be awkward! Love this colour!

      What do you say, will you give puce a chance?

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          anonymous 6 years ago

          Oh do stop the puce abuse! Personally, I use a shade of puce quite often as noses, tongues, etc. on drawings of pink skinned animals. Actual "pink" as it is available in digital pallettes tends to make them look cartoonish or to be too "loud" in comparison to other colors on the animal. Puce is the perfect solution. So yay for puce. Have another Angel blessing!

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          moonlitta 6 years ago

          Extraordinary by all means. Beautiful on most occasions...

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          Sherry Venegas 6 years ago from La Verne, CA

          I like puce. It is a lovely color.

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          CCGAL 6 years ago

          ROTFL - this is quite a fun lens. ***Blessed by a Squid Angel***

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          SuperZoe LM 6 years ago

          Love the color.. but I'm not too crazy about the name. Maybe a name change is in order? ;-)

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          anonymous 6 years ago

          Puce is a very nice floral color. I may have to do a coloring page with puce.

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          Susanna Duffy 6 years ago from Melbourne Australia

          At last! Someone else who appreciates puce

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          julieannbrady 6 years ago

          Ah POO Puce! Well, I personally love the color and gravitate towards the lavender hue of it.

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          BetsiGoutal1 6 years ago

          @WildFacesGallery: I know! Sound like puke. Only somehow worse. :/ We should start a petition to rename it to lovelybrownishreddishpurplybitwithahintofgrey. Hmm, maybe not.

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          Mona 6 years ago from Iowa

          Love the color, hate the name. I mean really ... puce? It sounds very unappetizing. :)

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          resabi 6 years ago

          The spirit is willing but I've read too many Georgette Heyer books. In fact, fans of her books pounce upon "puce sightings" with glee. In her contexts, puce is always the choice of characters with negative personalities and I've been too well indoctrinated to change now. Oh.. grr... ok, I'll try.

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          Rachel Field 6 years ago

          Defintely! I think it's lovely ;)