What color is that word?

February 22, 2019


Sometimes I let slip that I see words as having colors. People usually think it is crazy, and I guess it sort of is. It is called synesthesia. I've heard of some other versions where people can "see" music or sounds, or "see" number sequences. But I will explain my version.

According to wikipedia, seeing colors with words and digits is called "Grapheme-color synesthesia". But their page is also highly frustrating because it has the word "Synesthesia" colored all crazy, and it is completely wrong! At least in my brain it is wrong. These are the colors of the alphabet.

A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
L
M
N
O
P
Q
R
S
T
U
V
W
X
Y
Z

I always thought this was normal. I just assumed everyone else had a color pallete of their own for words, letters, and numbers. I vaguely remember having an alphabet puzzle when I was little, each letter of the alphabet was a piece. I'm thinking maybe the colors of those pieces stuck with me, and ever since I've associated them with each digit.

There is no precise formula to coloring words, but they almost always take the color of the letters making up the word. The first letter has a strong emphasis too, though a word usually blends the colors of all the letters. And some words don't conform to their letters colors at all, for instance, "Waterfall" is turquoise and white, despite having just one blue-ish letter (e). Some examples:

John

Outside

School

Train

Television

Restaurant

Flower

Dragon

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
0

Number are a different story. Not only do they have colors, they also have personalities. I won't go into details, but 7 and 9 are NOT friendly. 5 is full of himself. If I had to spend a day with any number I would have to choose 8.

Now, if you show me a word or number, colored in black ink, or blue marker, or whatever, obviously I see the word in whatever color it is written in. But in my head, it is its actual color. I know it is crazy, but it is kind of fun.