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]

Some mnemonics that are easy to remember include:

  • Big Boys Race Our Young Girls But Violet Grey Wins.
  • 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 Plan Goes Wrong. (p=purple for violet)
  • Better Be Right Or Your Great Big Values Go Wrong.
  • Back-Breaking Rascals Often Yield Grudgingly But Virtuous Gentlemen Will Give Shelter Nobly (with tolerance bands Gold, Silver or None)
  • 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 Violet's 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

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:

  • 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 Off You Go to Become a Very Good Wife[7]
  • Bill Brown Realized Only Yesterday Good Boys Value Good Work[8][9]

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)


Offensive and vulgar mnemonics include:

  • Black boys rape our young girls because virgins go wild.
  • Black boys rape our young girls behind victory garden walls.
  • Black boys rape our young girls but virgins go without.[11]
  • Black boy raped our young girl, bam, virginity gone west.
  • Big boys rape our young girls but Violet goes willingly.
  • Bad beer rots out your guts but vodka goes well.
  • Bad boys run our young girls behind victory garden walls.[12]
  • Bad boys rape our young girls but Violet gives willingly.[13][14] (Get Some Now (refers to the tolerance bands Gold, Silver or None))

Since B can stand for both "black" and "brown", variations were formed such as "Black boys rape our young girls...".[12] While adding racist connotations to the mnemonic, "black" has the advantage that it stands for the color of the same name and helps to differentiate it from the other 2 colors that start with 'b'. Though most forms of those mnemonics include bad, boy and but in that order in which the second letter provides for the disambiguation:

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

Humorous, offensive, and sexual mnemonics are more memorable (see mnemonic), but these variations are often considered inappropriate for classrooms, and have been implicated as a sign of sexism in science and engineering classes.[15] Dr. Latanya Sweeney, associate professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon, a black woman, mentions the mnemonic ("black boys rape only young girls but Violet gives willingly") as one of the reasons she felt alienated and eventually dropped out of MIT in the 1980s to form her own software company.[16]

A teacher in the UK was reprimanded by the General Teaching Council for alluding to and partial use of a racist and sexist version of this mnemonic in 2011.[17]


  1. ^ Meade, Russell L.; Robert Diffenderfer (2004). Foundations of Electronics: Circuits and Devices. Thomson Delmar Learning. ISBN 1-4018-5976-3.
  2. ^ "Acronyms from the Free BBROYGBVGW". 2013-05-15. Retrieved 2013-05-15.
  3. ^ The Mnemonics Page – Dean Campbell, Bradley University Chemistry Department
  4. ^ Benjamin W. Niebel & Andris Freivalds (2003). Methods, Standards, and Work Design (eleventh ed.). McGraw-Hill Professional. p. 297. ISBN 978-0-07-246824-3.
  5. ^ Jack Ganssle (2004). The Firmware Handbook. Elsevier. p. 10. ISBN 978-0-7506-7606-9.
  6. ^ Jack G. Ganssle; Tammy Noergaard; Fred Eady; Lewin Edwards; David J. Katz; Rick Gentile; Ken Arnold; Kamal Hyder & Bob Perrin (2008). Embedded Hardware: Know It All. Newnes. p. 17. ISBN 978-0-7506-8584-9.
  7. ^ a b S. M., Dhir (1999). "Passive Components". Electronic Components and Materials: Principles Manufacture & Maintenance. India: Tata Mcgraw-Hill. p. 68. ISBN 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. ^ bigclivedotcom (2016-03-15), A simple guide to electronic components., retrieved 2016-06-25
  12. ^ a b Indiana University (1960). Midwest Folklore (v.10-11 1960-1961 ed.).
  13. ^ Booker, M. Keith (1993). Literature and Domination: Sex, Knowledge, and Power in Modern Fiction. University Press of Florida. ISBN 0-8130-1195-7.
  14. ^ Pynchon, Thomas (1999). V. HarperCollins. p. 560. ISBN 0-06-093021-7.
  15. ^ Morse, Mary (2001). Women Changing Science: Voices from a Field in Transition. Basic Books. p. 308. ISBN 0-7382-0615-6.
  16. ^ 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 October 12, 2007. Retrieved 2007-07-24.
  17. ^ Hersey, James (2011-02-25). "BBC News - Sussex teacher reprimanded over 'racist rhyme'". Retrieved 2013-01-23.

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