I saw on this site that it said marrón, but in school I learned it was café.

Are they two different things, or are they exactly the same? Please help.

6 Answers



A list of some "browns" in Spanish:

  • marrón = brown
  • pardo = brownish grey
  • castaño = brown (for eyes and hair), chestnut coloured
  • café = brown (in Chile, Ecuador, Mexico and. Uruguay)
  • color café = coffee brown (all other countries)
  • moreno = for hair, it can be used for brown as well as black, but it is normally just dark.
  • color avellana = nut brown
  • color tabaco = dusty brown
  • (color) teja = brick red (almost brown)
  • retinto = very dark brown (mostly applied to animals)
  • (color) siena = sienna colour

Come on! It is the same in all countries when people talk about colours: unless you use a standardised scientific method of measuring colours, it is all very subjective.

  • thank you very much...this was confusing me quite a bit.... - sarahjs Aug 13, 2009
  • gosh who knew there were so many browns.....wow - sarahjs Aug 13, 2009



Pick a "brown".

look under Compound Forms at this site to see some shades of brown in Spanish:


brown-skinned de piel morena

brown-skinned moreno

chestnut brown marrón castaño

chestnut brown castaño

chocolate brown color de chocolate

dark brown marrón oscuro

dark brown café oscuro

golden brown adj marrón dorado

golden-brown amarillo marrón

golden-brown pardoamarillento

have brown hair v tener el cabello castaño

hazel brown marrón castaño

leather brown piel café México

leather brown (color) nm cuero marrón (color)

leather brown (color) nm marrón cuero (color)

nut brown adj castaño (color)

nut-brown castaño claro (cabello)

nut-brown marrón claro (cabello)

nut-brown café avellana (color)

reddish brown marrón

  • wow thats a lot... - sarahjs Aug 13, 2009
  • wow thats a lot... - sarahjs Aug 13, 2009


Marrón is used in a general sense, café is used for eye color only. It is confusing, but that was what i learned.

  • Aug 12, 2009
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  • In the 7 Spanish-speaking countries I have traveled in N, C, & S. America, plus amongst the Spanish-speaking population in the US, I have not heard "café" limited to eye color only. That may be true some place, but should not be given as a general rule. - hhmdirocco Aug 12, 2009
  • ok thank you that makes sense. - sarahjs Aug 13, 2009


In my spanish classes i have been taught "pardo" for the colour brown.

  • Aug 12, 2009
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  • Some "spanish" teacher may feel sophisticated for teaching a word different than what the textbooks teach, or than what the dictionaries say, but "i" say that would be akin to teaching learners of English "mahogany" for the general color "brown." - hhmdirocco Aug 12, 2009
  • My estimado hhmdirocco, en Colombia, en la mayoría de los casos decimos café, en algunas regiones del país usan marrón. Si alguien pregunta: ¿De qué color es eso? las respuestas serían: cafecito o marroncito. That's it. - RicardoP Aug 12, 2009
  • Gracias, mi apreciado colega Ricardo. Es lo que yo escuchaba en los 5 países de Suramérica que conozco. Me extrañaba que se enseñara en una clase la palabra "pardo" para el color general, siendo aqu - hhmdirocco Aug 12, 2009
  • ... siendo aquél una variante nada más. Y gracias por confirmar mi otro comentario ... no tengo ni idea de en qué país se usa el color "café" respecto únicamente a los ojos, como comenta valleruc. - hhmdirocco Aug 12, 2009
  • yeah i wasn't even sure at all about that answer - sarahjs Aug 13, 2009


thank you all very much....



How are Spanish compound and complex sentences punctuated?

  • Apr 23, 2010
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  • hi there, you will need to move your question to a new question slot or it probably won't get ansswered. Did you check the Reference section? - pkadams Apr 23, 2010