*what* colour, exactly, are hazel eyes?

i’ve never been able to define my own eye colour (which garners many an odd look from others). there’s a ring around the pupil that’s a bright rusty orange (with a slight tinge of brown), and the rest of the iris changes from greyish to blueish to greenish (although whatever colour it is always has a greyish hue to it).

so i thought, “well, why don’t you see what hazel eyes are?” and durned if i can find an actual answer! i get results that say anything from “light golden brown” to “greeny blue”. so is hazel a catchall phrase for “i don’t know what colour it is!” ?

i know people used to think that eyes were only blue or brown, and no inbetween (at least if my old “guess who” board game is to be trusted :p), but now it seems to be “brown, blue, green, grey, black, and hazel”. but hazel apparently is a catchall phrase (or people are using it incorrectly).

so, my friends, what exactly is the colour of hazel eyes?

Hazel.

Well, simple answer, as Du_Hast managed to put so concisely and elegantly, is that they’re hazel. It’s a color. Check the crayon box! :slight_smile:

But the reason you might be having trouble pinning it down, though, is that we people with hazel eyes are a bit… special. Some might even say “freaky”. Our exact eye color tends to shift a bit depending on what we’re wearing.

Erm, since this is General Questions, I suppose I should say, “our eye color APPEARS to shift”. As far as I know, they don’t literally change.

well i know hazel is a colour (you’re talking to the person who was asked what was the colour of the car that needed an oil change, and answered, “it’s burnt sienna” :D).

but everyone i’ve ever talked to, which includes people who do or don’t think they have hazel eyes, seem to think that hazel * eye colour * is completely different from hazel * anything else colour *, which is why i’m asking.

i mean, my eyes aren’t a light yellowy brown, but a few people have said to me, “well, i guess your eyes are hazel.”

Ditto what Anamorphic said. I’ve got hazel coloured eyes as do my mum and my SO. Our eye colour is very much a reflection of what we are wearing, green and blue seem to work especially well.

I suppose to find out the true colour we could all get naked and check it out but its 4.30 in the AM here and I’m just not up to seeing my mum naked at this blessed hour.

Sounds like a party to me! Except for the whole mum thing, yeah. :slight_smile:

I was under the impression that hazel eyes are eyes that are browny-green, a touch yellowish sometimes. Definitely not blue/green/gray.

My eyes are quite similar to yours, they are blue/green/grey with a yellow ring in my irises. No one has ever told me, nor hae I ever thought my eyes are hazel. They are “light”.

Sorry, afterthought:

On my driver’s license, eye colour is listed as “pers”: the french word for the eyecolour that is “blue-green”.

According to Merriam-Webster, as a color hazel is “a light brown to strong yellowish brown.” My brother has “hazel” eyes, and that’s what they are: a light brown.

If people are using it to describe other eye colors, then they are misusing it.

However, if people have light brown eyes it means they have less melanin in the iris than those with dark brown eyes. It is probably more common for them to show flecks or areas of other colors such as green, gray, or blue if the pigment is distributed unevenly. Therefore it may be typical for people whose base color is light brown to show multicolored eyes, or appear to have a variable eye color.

The problem is that hazel, in the context of eye color, isn’t a single shade but some type of blend. Normally it’s understood to have some sort of mossy-green character, associated with an amber hued lipid sitting atop a the normal pigment of the eye.

If brown eyes (rich in melanin) are at one end of the spectrum and blue (melanin poor) at the other, hazel would sit somewhere near the middle. This is not to say eye color inheritance follows a simple Mendelian pattern, as the shades that differ distinctly from brown or blue would seem to indicate.

As for the blue question, the hazel nut that the color is supposed to be reminiscent of, is amber-greenish. No blue at all.

Hang on. My eyes have always been defined as “hazel” – even says so on my drivers licence, a legally recognized document! They are green with a little brown surrounding the pupil. I thought hazel meant two-toned eyes? No?

The dictionary doesn’t think so.

Neither does Cecil. He says hazel is medium brown.

Some info on how eye color is determined:

My first driver’s license said “hazel”. That’s what people told me I had. Now my license says “green” (*actually GRN) because that’s what I finally decided they were, mostly.

I can’t even figure out whether my eyes changed color, or people just didn’t know. I too have a green/light-brown(tan?) outer/inner color scheme, and I think the varying amounts and intensities of combinations make “eye color” somewhat subjective.

so what would anyone say my eye colour is, then?

ring of rust around the pupil with the rest being grey, green, or blue (changes shades quite often, but always grey-tinted).

i’d like to have a proper eye colour listed on my driver’s license. :stuck_out_tongue:

Go with “pers”. Who cares if it’s foreign.

Or you could do as I do, and inform anyone who asks that they’re blue/green/gray and let 'em decide for themselves.

(Wow, your eyes really do sound quite identical to mine. I’ve never met anyone else who has different coloured rings in their eyes, too.)

This is a circular definition in two ways.

First, moss comes in many hues. Second, the term “hazel” is commonly misused–and has been for years. Thus, your associating the phrase “normally understood” with this vague term answers nothing. (Though I was initially impressed!)

Hazel is not a variant of blue or blue-green or medium green. Instead, it’s a yellowish brown, though there’s no commonly understood term to really define it. Most people use the term “hazel” as a catch all.

My eyes have been described as hazel (whatever that means).

I have a very narrow dark blue-gray ring next to the whites,
a broader (but still narrow) medium turquoise ring inside that,
then a lot of strips of yellow-brown and green (with some dark brown) in a radiating pattern around the lens,
while immediately next to the lens is an irregularly shaped circle of medium brown.

In addition to hazel, my eyes have been described (depending on my age, the observer, the weather, the color of my clothes, the lighting of the room, and apparently what I had for breakfast) as blue, green, gray, and indecipherable.

My eyes have been described as hazel (whatever that means).

I have a very narrow dark blue-gray ring next to the whites,
a broader (but still narrow) medium turquoise ring inside that,
then a lot of strips of yellow-brown and green (with some dark brown) in a radiating pattern around the lens,
while immediately next to the lens is an irregularly shaped circle of medium brown.

In addition to hazel, my eyes have been described (depending on my age, the observer, the weather, the color of my clothes, the lighting of the room, and apparently what I had for breakfast) as blue, green, gray, and indecipherable.