When I was younger I didn't know what my favorite color was. Whenever the question came up, I would fumble around in my head, and would eventually come up with the "I don't know" as an answer. Finally, in my lower 20s, the revelation came to me (over a period of a few days) that maroon was my favorite color. Maroon has been my favorite color since.

I have various reasons for why I might like maroon, but all the explanations seem rather unsatisfactory. The most satisfactory "reason" for liking the color maroon is simply because I do.

The Color Maroon

Maroon is a darkened red, a de-saturated red, or a mix of brown and purple paints. Variations or maroon-like colors include burgundy, carmine, chestnut, falu red, and dark crimson. I don't mind a maroon that has different ratios of red and black, nor do I mind a faded or tinted maroon, but I do mind the introduction of other colors to maroon. EG: I don't like a yellowed maroon; I have nothing against yellow but if a "maroon" has colors added to it that aren't red or black, then I don't consider it a maroon variant.

The "official" maroon for the X11 Colors, Microsoft, the W3C.org, and Wikipedia is 800000. The VGA system calls the same hexadecimal value "Dark Red", which in X11 is actually 8B0000.

HSV 0 degrees 100% 50%
5R 5/14 (Munsell H V/C, i.e. H V/S)
HSL 0 degrees 25% 100%
8ei (Ostwald Hhw)
RGB 50% 0% 0%
128 decimal 0 decimal 0 decimal
80 hexadecimal 00 hexadecimal 00 hexadecimal
CMYK 0 decimal 255 decimal 255 decimal 128 decimal
0% 100% 100% 50%
Pantone PMS 1815


I like maroon matched with bright colors like silver or gold.

I don't like things that are too strongly maroon. I prefer a hint of maroon, like an item with a maroon trim or a patch of maroon.

After maroon, I like darkened variations of the cool hues such as blue, green, and purple. Darkened variations of the other warm colors (such as yellow and orange) seem a little muddy.

There are various organizations that utilize maroon as an official color.

In heraldry, the tinctures ("colours") consist of principal colors, "staynard" or "stained" colors, and other minor colors.

The latter two (Murrey and Sanguine) are sometimes grouped as Maroon. [Heraldry.ws].


The Word Maroon

I also like maroon as a word. EG: I prefer to call maroon-like colors (such as burgundy or carmine) "maroon".

The word "maroon" has a hint of "Mars" in it. This has references to different themes.

Since approximately 1555, the word "maroon" has referred to a dark brownish red. This usage of the word "maroon" has the etymological root of the Spanish marron , which means "chestnut". The color chestnut is frequently used to describe horses with a coloration like the chestnut tree. I consider chestnut to be a browner red, instead of what I consider to be maroon.

The chestnut [W] is any member of the genus Castanea, the trees and shrubs of the beech family (Fagaceae). Most people think of the chestnut as the nut from the American tree C. dentata , which was once dominant in the eastern US but now seldom grows beyond a a shrub or sapling height because of the chestnut blight. Chestnut wood is similar to oak and durable but unfortunately chestnut wood tends to split and warp when dried. I am not particularly fond of chestnut stuffing or candied chestnuts, but the concept of "chestnuts roasting over an open fire" is certainly a warm and friendly one.

The word "maroon" is also derived from the French maron or maroon, which in turn was derived from the American-Spanish of cimarrón, which originally meant "wild, savage, unruly", which in turn was derived from the Old Spanish cimarra for "thicket". (FYI: The Cimarron River flows from NE New Mexico eastward to the Arkansas River near Tulsa, Oklahoma) My last name (Hernandez) is clearly Spanish and I do have some Spanish blood in me, so the Spanish origin is of interest to me. The wild and savage concept is also exciting. This version of "maroon" has been applied in two basic ways: as a noun and as a verb.

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