List of electronic color code mnemonics

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Color Value
Black 0
Brown 1
Red 2
Orange 3
Yellow 4
Green 5
Blue 6
Violet 7
Grey 8
White 9
Gold ±5%
Silver ±10%
None ±20%
Color coded resistors

Mnemonics are used to help memorize the electronic color codes of electronic components such as resistors.

The first letter of the color code is matched by order of increasing magnitude. The electronic color codes, in order, are:

  • Black
  • Brown
  • Red
  • Orange
  • Yellow
  • Green
  • Blue
  • Violet
  • Gray
  • White.

Easy to remember[edit]

Many forms of this mnemonic include "bad", "boy" and "but" in that order such that the second letter provides for the disambiguation between the three colors starting with 'b':

  • bad → black
  • boys → brown
  • but → blue

Some forms use literal color names ("black", "brown", or "blue") to be explicit and avoid any ambiguity amongst the 3 'b' colors.

Some mnemonics that are easy to remember include:

  • B B ROY Great B V Great Woman.
  • Big Boys Race Our Young Girls But Violet Generally Wins.[1]
  • Better Be Right Or Your Great Big Venture Goes West.[2]
  • Beetle Bailey Runs Over Your General Before Very Good Witnesses.
  • Beach Bums Rarely Offer You Gatorade But Very Good Water.
  • Buster Brown Races Our Young Girls But Violet Generally Wins.
  • Better Be Right Or Your Great Big Vacation Goes Wrong.
  • Better Be Right Or Your Great Big Values Go Wrong.
  • Better Be Right Or Your Great Big Plan Goes Wrong. (with P = Purple for Violet)
  • Back-Breaking Rascals Often Yield Grudgingly But Virtuous Gentlemen Will Give Shelter Nobly. (with tolerance bands Gold, Silver or None)
  • Better Be Right Or Your Great Big Plan Goes Wrong - Go Start Now!
  • Black Beetles Running Over Your Garden Bring Very Grey Weather.
  • Bad Booze Rots Our Young Guts But Vodka Goes Well – get some now.[3]
  • Bat Brained Resistor Order You Gotta Be Very Good With.
  • Big Beautiful Roses Occupy Your Garden But Violets Grow Wild.
  • Black Bananas Really Offend Your Girlfriend But Violets Get Welcomed.
  • Black Birds Run Over Your Biting Visible Grey Worms.
  • Badly Burnt Resistors On Your Ground Bus Void General Warranty.
  • Billy Brown Ran Out Yelling Get Back Violets Getting Wet.
  • Better Be Right Or You're Gonna Be Violently Gouged With Golden Spaghetti.
  • Bright Boys Rave Over Young Girls But Veto Getting Wed.
  • Black Bears Raid Our Yellow Green Bins Violently Grabbing Whatever Goodies Smell Nice.
  • Bachelor Boys Rush Our Young Girls But Veronica Goes Wild for Gold or Silver Necklaces.

A mnemonic that has attained some traction in recent years is:

  • Big Brown Rabbits Often Yield Great Big Vocal Groans When Gingerly Slapped Needlessly.[4][5][6]

A mnemonic which includes colour names, and reduces the chances of confusing black and brown is:

  • Blackend Brownies , really? only you growing blind, Violet! Great Wine, 5 Gold, 10 Silver or a 20 Note should make up for this.
  • Betty Brown Runs Over Your Garden But Violet Grey Walks.


A mnemonic that is commonly taught in classrooms in India:

  • B B ROY of Great Britain had a Very Good Wife who wore Gold and Silver Necklace.[7]
  • Bill Brown Realized Only Yesterday Good Boys Value Good Work.[8][9]


Mnemonics commonly taught in UK engineering courses include:

  • Bye Bye Rosie Off You Go to Birmingham Via Great Western.[10]
  • Bye Bye Rosie Off You Go to Bristol Via Great Western.[8]
  • Bye Bye Rosie Oh!'You Go to Become a Very Good Wife.[7]
  • Bill Brown Realized Only Yesterday Good Boys Value Good Work.[8][9]


A mnemonic that is taught in classrooms in Canada:

  • Black Bears Roam Our Yukon Grounds But Vanish in Gray Winter.

Vacuum tube era[edit]

Popular in the days of vacuum-tube radios:

  • Better Buy Resistors Or Your Grid Bias Voltages Go West. (go west = die)

Impact of Racist and Misogynist Mnemonics[edit]

Mnemonics describing specific and relatable scenarios are more memorable than abstract phrases (see mnemonic). Given the pervasive experience of racism and sexual violence against women in our culture, it is unsurprising that explicitly racist and misogynist mnemonics emerged alongside the numerous examples listed above.

One such term can be found listed in a 1960 textbook called Midwest Folklore illustrating the extent to which such violent phrases have been normalized in the past.[11] Casual use of another in an engineering class has been cited as evidence of the sexism faced by women in scientific fields.[12] Latanya Arvette Sweeney, Associate Professor of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon, mentions yet another as one reason why she felt alienated and eventually dropped out of MIT in the 1980s to form her own software company.[13] Another was referenced in a 1993 book called Literature and Domination.[14] In 2011 a teacher in the UK was reprimanded by the General Teaching Council for alluding to and partial use of yet another.[15]

Continued use of such phrases perpetuates a culture that normalizes physical harm against women and Black, Asian, and Indigenous bodies (see Racism in the United States).


  1. ^ {{Cite book |publisher=[[Thomson Delmar Learnin_YC&pg=PA48&dq=Big+Boys+Race+Our+Young+Girls+But+Violet+Generally+Wins}}
  2. ^ "Acronyms from the Free BBROYGBVGW". 2013-05-15. Retrieved 2013-05-15.
  3. ^ Campbell, Dean. "The Mnemonics Page". Bradley University Chemistry Department.
  4. ^ Niebel, Benjamin W.; Freivalds, Andris (2003). Methods, Standards, and Work Design (Eleventh ed.). McGraw-Hill Professional. p. 297. ISBN 978-0-07-246824-3.
  5. ^ Ganssle, Jack (2004). The Firmware Handbook. Elsevier. p. 10. ISBN 978-0-7506-7606-9.
  6. ^ Ganssle, Jack G.; Noergaard, Tammy; Eady, Fred; Edwards, Lewin; Katz, David J.; Gentile, Rick; Arnold, Ken; Hyder, Kamal; Perrin, Bob (2008). Embedded Hardware: Know It All. Newnes. p. 17. ISBN 978-0-7506-8584-9.
  7. ^ a b Dhir, S. M. (2000) [1999]. "Passive Components". Electronic Components and Materials: Principles, Manufacture & Maintenance (2007 fifth reprint ed.). India: Tata McGraw-Hill Publishing Company Limited. p. 68. ISBN 0-07-463082-2. ISBN 978-0-07-463082-2.
  8. ^ a b c Bhargava, N. N.; Kulshreshtha, D. C.; Gupta, S. C. (1984-01-01). "Introduction to Electronics". Basic Electronics and Linear Circuits. India: Tata Mcgraw-Hill. p. 8. ISBN 0-07-451965-4.
  9. ^ a b Gambhir, R. S. (1993). "DC Circuits". Foundations Of Physics. 2. India: New Age International. p. 49. ISBN 81-224-0523-1.
  10. ^ Sinclair, Ian (2002-03-20). "Resistors, networks and measurements". Electronic and Electrical Servicing: Level 2. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Newnes. p. 44. ISBN 0-7506-5423-6.
  11. ^ Indiana University (1960). Midwest Folklore (v.10-11 1960-1961 ed.).
  12. ^ Morse, Mary (2001). Women Changing Science: Voices from a Field in Transition. Basic Books. p. 308. ISBN 0-7382-0615-6.
  13. ^ Walter, Chip (2007-06-27). "Privacy Isn't Dead, or At Least It Shouldn't Be: A Q&A with Latanya Sweeney". Scientific American. Archived from the original on 2007-10-12. Retrieved 2007-07-24.
  14. ^ Booker, M. Keith (1993). Literature and Domination: Sex, Knowledge, and Power in Modern Fiction. University Press of Florida. ISBN 0-8130-1195-7.
  15. ^ Hersey, James (2011-02-25). "Sussex teacher reprimanded over 'racist rhyme'". BBC News. Retrieved 2013-01-23.

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