pink

Pink never refers in German to the plain pink colour denoted by the word in English, but is an abridgement of the English term shocking pink. The English word pink was probably inspired by the delicate pale reds of a flower, Dianthus gratianopolitanus, known in English as pinks and in German as the sommerbl├╝henden Nelken. It is no accident that the German word for the same colour, rosa, is also derived from the observation and cultivation of garden flowers, in this case the rose. The most remarkable episode in the fashion history of pink/rosa was the fascination for decades with pink or "rosy" skin, particularly on the cheeks, and the sale of powders to achieve this effect. When I was young, stage make-up employed the reddest of such powders, rouge, to suggest an elderly lady still stuck in the fashion excesses of her youth, and I can remember a few granddames still left at the time who made up their faces this way. However this implication would probably be lost on audiences today. Shocking pink is a 20th-century invention, and may at some point in the future be used as a figure for a similar out-of-date fashion sense. Pink, which is a false friend, is inflected as a normal German adjective.

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