I've learned that 咖啡色 now is the most common way of saying "brown". Does that mean that saying 茶色 now is outdated, and not used any more, or are both words still used?

Would also be interesting to know if these are considered to be the same color, or if there is indeed a difference between what shade of brown they are used to describe.

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    see frequency numbers, note different types of brown: bkrs: 茶色 dark brown; tawny 一种比栗色稍红的棕橙色至浅棕色 fr.#41251 syn.褐, 栗色, 褐色 咖啡色 coffee color,brown 深棕色 fr. #25730 syn.驼色 驼色 camel; colour of camel's hair; light tan 如骆驼毛一般的浅棕色,fr.#57740 syn. 咖啡色
    – user6065
    Jan 27, 2018 at 5:37
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    Chinese-Russian/English dictionary: bkrs.info
    – user6065
    Jan 27, 2018 at 10:28
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    omg!for years I thought brown is 棕色!!do we share a same colour of the world?
    – J.Wang
    Jan 31, 2018 at 6:45
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    as readers of online stories can confirm 褐色(#17405) seems more common than either of the above, e.g. the first 2 stories of the collection of Alfred Hitchcock short stories my285.com/zt/xqkek/index.htm both contain one instance of 褐色 爱神无顾:路茜小姐看到他 褐色 的皮肤,奇特的双眼,还有一种深沉温和的耐心。百叶窗:他有一个双下巴,一双温和的 褐色 的眼睛,浓浓的眉毛。
    – user6065
    Feb 1, 2018 at 1:45
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    @goPlayerJuggler I think you mean user6065, not me.
    – Mou某
    Mar 2, 2018 at 10:32

2 Answers 2


Their colors are similar and close. Usually, 茶色 is short of 茶叶色(color of red tea) and used for glass. For example, 茶色玻璃. Well, 咖啡色 is usually used for other objects. Like, 咖啡色皮夹克. But it's not wrong if replace one with the other in any case.


I’ve always thought the formal way to indicate the colour brown was with “棕色”, which I had picked up through text. In everyday speech while growing up, my family had always used “咖啡色”. In Cantonese, we would say “啡色”.

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