So, I have read this article about color theory that explains the meaning of several English words:

  • Hue: any Primary or Secondary color other than white or black, which means Yellow, Orange, Red, Violet, Blue and Green, but can also mean a mixture of those six. Pure black and white do not contain any hue.
  • Tint: a hue with some white color added, but totally no black.
  • Shade: a hue with some black added, but totally no white.
  • Tone: a hue with some gray added, in other words -- a hue with black and white added. Can have different "value", which likely means "the amount of gray added", but not sure about this word.

However, what I am looking for is the Russian translation of those four terms. Multitran translates "hue" as "цвет, оттенок, тон", "tint" as "краска, оттенок, тон, колорит", "tone" as "оттенок, тон", and "shade" as "оттенок, градация", with many unrelated words shown as possible translations for each four of the terms discussed. Context.Reverso basically translates all of them as "оттенок".

Russian Wikipedia translates "hue" as "тон"; "tone (color)" redirects to "brightness" in the English Wikipedia, which is translated as "светлота" in the Russian one, and "tone color" (no parenthesis!) redirects to Timbre, translated as "Тембр", "Tint" and "Shade (color)" both redirect to "Tints and shades", having no link to the Russian Wikipedia.

All in all, there is no consistency in translating those words.

So, what is the correct way to call Hues, Tints, Shades, and Tones in Russian in a way that distinguishes one from another as defined above and makes you sound like someone who understands what is going on?

  • 1
    there's also tinge, maybe not so specialized, but Russian seems poorer in this respect, and in many others actually as well, English has elaborate vocabularies in sciences and fields which have been actively developing in the civilized world, and these are much more numerous than those engaged in in the USSR and then in Russia Commented Oct 19, 2018 at 6:19
  • 2
    Hue is цветовой тон in both photography/television and paint production industry (ГОСТ standard for paint: aquagroup.ru/normdocs/11792#i45963 ).
    – Alex_ander
    Commented Oct 19, 2018 at 16:26

2 Answers 2


The words that uses in Russian for describing colors (as analog in HSL color model Hue-Saturation-Lightness)

  • Hue - цвет, оттенок (тон)

enter image description here

  • Saturation (tone in the article) - насыщенность

enter image description here

  • lightness or value (tint and shade) - яркость (тон)

enter image description here

Shade (темный)<------------------------------------------------------> Tint(светлый)

The main problem that тон or тональность (it similar to Tonality in music) uses in meaning "Hue" and "lightness" (but definitely not like "tone" in the article). If you don't dive enough context, "тон" normally will use more as lightness in art and Hue in design. If you want to understand you correctly, you can say "цветовой тон" or "оттенок" for Hue and "световой тон" или "Яркость" for lightness

Tint and Shade can be translated as "Осветление" и "Затемнение", you can say also that the color is "темный" or "светлый". But basically, it is adding and subtracting lightning (яркость). If you talking about painting you can say "Разбеление" (Adding white) instead of "Осветление"

HSL node in Blender:

enter image description here

how it translated:

enter image description here

  1. Hue - цвет (if you use hue as a more literary word for color) or оттенок (if by hue you mean the distinctive characteristics of a given color that enable it to be assigned a position in the spectrum).
  2. Tint - оттенок again. By tint you mean a delicate or pale color or hue, don't you? If you want to be more specific, you may add "нежный" to "оттенок" to emphasize the delicacy.
  3. Shade - оттенок again (!). The name of that book "50 Shades of Grey" was translated as "50 Оттенков Серого".
  4. Tone - тон.

enter image description here

  • definitely "tone" is not "тон". Maybe article is not correct
    – Crantisz
    Commented Oct 19, 2018 at 11:16
  • @Crantisz Who said that? Тон is not Hue, thats for sure
    – Sanctus
    Commented Aug 13, 2019 at 12:57
  • @Sanctus you read not my answer
    – Crantisz
    Commented Aug 13, 2019 at 13:09
  • @Crantisz, i read your answer, and its good, but this is other topic and your comment is claiming something here without proof-link
    – Sanctus
    Commented Aug 13, 2019 at 13:15
  • It's about article in URL from question.
    – Crantisz
    Commented Aug 13, 2019 at 13:19

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