Cyan Vs. Teal: Main Differences, How To Tell Them Apart? (2023)

Blue is one of the most popular colors yet oddly confusing. Most people get confused about this color because of its many shades, which are hard to tell apart. For instance, many people struggle to tell apart cyan from teal.

Cyan is a bluish green color or a color shade between blue and green. It is the complementary color of red and one of the subtractive primary colors. In contrast, teal is a bluish-green color or a medium blue-green shade. The difference between the two colors is that teal is a darker version of cyan.

Cyan and teal are often compared and confused because they look very similar. As you might have noted above, they are both bluish-green shades. Interestingly, a few elements tell them apart, which this post will discuss; you will also have a chance to learn much more here.

Cyan Vs. Teal: Main Differences, How To Tell Them Apart? (1)

Definitions of Cyan and Teal

You can easily tell the relationship and differences between two words or things through their definitions. However, you should know that one word may have several definitions. That means, even if one definition is the same as a similar word, you can tell them apart using the other definitions. Let's look at the definitions for cyan and teal and how they differ.

Definition of Cyan

Cyan is a color shade between blue and green. Therefore, it is a primary subtractive color for light obtained by removing red from white light. Use this term when referring to a bluish shade of green. For example, "The cyan curtains are my favorite."

In photography and printing, cyan is a greenish-blue color used to print or take photos of primary colors. It is among those colors that bring out perfect pictures that are attractive to the eye, especially among people who love primary colors. In a sentence, "Mike printers use cyan to display primary colors in photographs."


Definition of Teal

Teal is a dark greenish-blue color. It is typically darker than cyan and sometimes looks like a grayish-blue shade. An example sentence is, "I chose the teal paint color for my newborn's room."

Another definition for teal is "a small duck found in freshwater that is brightly colored and short-necked." Embrace the word when discussing a duck with a dark greenish-blue stripe on its head and wings. For example, "The beautiful teal at the pond loves it when visitors feed it."

How to Properly Use Cyan and Teal in a Sentence

Most people assume that using a word is easy once you know its definition. However, the key to properly using English words is understanding grammar rules. Below are some guidelines for using the terms "teal" and "cyan" in sentences.

How to Use Cyan

The word "cyan" is a noun because it names an item. However, since it is a common noun, you do not need to capitalize its first letter when using it in sentences. For instance, "We shall paint the walls cyan for the event."

As a noun, you can use the word "cyan" as the subject of a sentence. The subject is the primary focus in a sentence or the item that receives the action from the verb. For example, "Let us wipe the cyan off the page." Here, "wipe" is the verb, and "cyan" receives the action of wiping.

You can also use "cyan" as the object of the sentence. The object is the item that receives the action done by the subject. For example, "The students poured out the cyan paint during the senior prank." Here, the word "student" is the subject, and "cyan" is the direct object.

Also, cyan is an uncountable noun, a noun available in a state or quantity you cannot count. Therefore, since cyan refers to a color, it is uncountable. English grammar rules recommend considering this word as singular as an uncountable noun. For example, "The cyan carpet spoiled when we moved it without covering it" or "The cyan in the paint is not much."


Finally, you can use the word "cyan" in a sentence as an adjective that describes the quality of a noun. For example, "Sandra wore a beautiful cyan dress to the wedding."

How to Use Teal

You can use the word "teal" as a countable or uncountable noun. If your intended meaning is "bluish-green color," use it as an uncountable noun. In a sentence, "Adding some teal to the color palette will make it look unique."

On the other hand, you can use it as a countable noun when referring to "a duck." For example, "The four teals on the pond make so much noise in the morning."

Additionally, you can use this term as an adjective. Use it to describe something that features a bluish-green color. In a sentence, "The students wear teal shirts with their uniform."

Cyan vs. Teal: More Differences

The main difference between teal and cyan is that teal is a darker shade of cyan. However, there are other differences between these words besides their definition.

For instance, a difference between "cyan" and "teal" is that the word "cyan" originates from the Greek "kyanos," in 1879, meaning "dark blue or greenish-blue.

In contrast, "teal" was first used in the early 14th century to refer to "a small freshwater duck." However, its application as a color started in 1923, from West Germanic "taili," meaning "a shade of dark greenish-blue like the one found on a fowl's head and feathers."


Also, the word "cyan" is commonly used in scientific and photographic applications. On the other hand, teal is more common in the textile and clothing industry. Therefore, it's easier to find a teal dress than a cyan.

Finally, "cyan" has two syllables (cy – an) while "teal" has one syllable. Note that words with fewer syllables are the easiest to pronounce. Therefore, the pronunciation for "teal" is \ˈtēl\, while the pronunciation for "cyan" is \ˈsī-ˌan, -ən\.

List of Examples of Cyan and Teal Use in Sentences

The information in the above sections is sufficient to guide your sentence construction using the words "cyan" and "teal." In addition, here are some examples you can check out.

Example sentences of cyan

  1. James colored his hair purple with streaks of cyan to switch up his look during his identity crisis.
  2. I often mistake my turquoise dress with your cyan one because they are the same design and the colors are also similar.
  3. Mixing the two colors will produce a dark cyan shade, sometimes known as teal.
  4. Did you know that mixing cyan, magenta, and yellow will produce black?
  5. Perhaps one of the most interesting colors I have encountered is cyan.

Cyan Vs. Teal: Main Differences, How To Tell Them Apart? (2)

Example sentences of teal

  1. The park features many duck species, like goosander, tufted, and teal ducks.
  2. The teal stripe on the carpet in the dining room is pretty eye-catching.
  3. Marianna bought her bridesmaids unattractive teal dresses because she did not want them to outshine her.
  4. All I took from your closet was a pair of teal sneakers.
  5. The thieves made away with Samantha's teal evening purse hanging around her waist when the bank was broken into.


The words "teal" and "cyan" are often compared because they both refer to the color between blue and green (blueish-green). However, besides this similarity, these words are very different. For instance, their pronunciation has nothing in common, as do their spellings.

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Also, "cyan" is a multi-syllable noun, while "teal" is a uni-syllable word. Again, these words' origins are not even slightly related. "Teal" originates from Germany, while "cyan" comes from Greek. Now that you can tell apart cyan from teal do not hesitate to create some sentences featuring these words.

Cyan Vs. Teal: Main Differences, How To Tell Them Apart? (3)

Shawn Manaher

Shawn Manaher is the founder and CEO of The Content Authority. He's one part content manager, one part writing ninja organizer, and two parts leader of top content creators. You don't even want to know what he calls pancakes.



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