Frequently Asked Questions

Why do you spell color with the letter “u”, e.g., “colour”?

The word colour is such an important part of this subject that I have chosen its spelling very carefully.  Throughout this website and in all of my work, the word color is spelled, colour.  Besides the apparent romance that colour connotes for many readers, there is a more compelling reason for choosing this spelling.

The word first appeared in print in 1290 A.D., at which time it was spelled colur.  Over the next one hundred years, in literature dealing with the arts, it was spelled in various ways; culler, colur, collur, and others.  In 1398, the spelling colour was introduced as an insightful description referring to the relationship between light and color: "Colour accordeth to the lyghte as the doughter to the moder" [Color is to the light as the daughter is to the mother] (Merrifield 1849).  This spelling “colour”, continued throughout the seventeenth century, and even America's founders used the spelling colour.  However in the nineteenth century, pragmatists such as Peirce, James, Dewey and others, settled on the simpler form: color.  In light of the fact that colour (with a “u”) has enjoyed 600 years of literary history, I have decided to use this more colourful spelling.