Color terms pose a challenge to lexicographers for several reasons. Their boundaries are uncertain, and the information sought about them in dictionaries differs widely depending on the needs of the inquirer. Color terms rarely refer to a single shade but often signify a range. Speakers often disagree on the name of the color they are seeing and do not consistently mark the boundaries of a color. As many colors are named after objects, it is unclear how independent the term is from the object for which it is named. This paper assesses whether a typology of general lexicographic strategies is the most useful division of defining methods for color terms in French and English. Based on a study of monolingual French-language and English-language dictionaries, the paper shows that an appropriate typology for these languages includes three color-defining strategies: Defining with Reference to the Spectrum of Visible Light, Defining with Reference to Relationship with Other Colors, and Defining with Reference to Objects.


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pp. 1-35
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