Powder blue

Powder blue is a pale shade of blue.[1] As with most colours, there is no absolute definition of its exact hue. Originally, powder blue, in the 1650s, was powdered smalt (cobalt glass) used in laundering and dyeing applications, and it then came to be used as a colour name from 1894.[2][3]

Powder blue
About these coordinates     Color coordinates
Hex triplet#9EB9D4
sRGBB  (rgb)(158, 185, 212)
CMYKH   (c, m, y, k)(25, 13, 0, 17)
HSV       (h, s, v)(210°, 26%, 83%)
SourceBritish Standard 20D41
ISCC–NBS descriptorPale blue
B: Normalized to [0–255] (byte)
H: Normalized to [0–100] (hundred)
Blue powder
Blue powder
Powder blue colored hydrangea flowers
Powder blue colored hydrangea flowers

Smalt has a deep, dark blue hue, but powder blue nowadays is a pale cobalt blue as illustrated by the examples below, which show powder blue as defined by British and Australian Standards for paint colours along with an example of one manufacturer's actual Powder Blue paint, and a consensus definition produced by an online colour names survey in which 140,000 people took part. The sources differ on how pale or saturated a colour it is, but broadly agree on the hue.

Shades of powder blue
Australian Standard [4] British Standard[5] Dulux Trade Paint[6] Online survey[7]








Powder blue was also used as a colour name in English in 1774, but the exact colour is unclear: it may be a blue-grey or a dark unsaturated blue.[8]

Web colourEdit



In contrast to the above examples, the list of X11 color names defines powder blue as a pale cyan shade, RGB(176,224,230), as shown here. This is the colour which is displayed by web browsers if "powder blue" is specified in HTML or CSS code.[9]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Concise Oxford Dictionary entry.
  2. ^ Oxford English Dictionary, s.v.
  3. ^ Etymology Online
  4. ^ Australian Standard AS 2700 colour B32 (Powder Blue)
  5. ^ Powder Blue BS4800 20D41 Paint colour
  6. ^ Dulux Trade Colour Powder Blue
  7. ^ Xkcd Color Survey Results
  8. ^ Maerz and Paul A Dictionary of Color New York:1930 McGraw-Hill Page 202. See colour sample of powder blue, Page 95--Plate 36 Color Sample H2 and Plate 43 Color Sample D11
  9. ^ W3C TR CSS3 Color Module, HTML4 color keywords

External linksEdit