Beige is variously described as a pale sandy fawn color, a grayish tan, a light-grayish yellowish brown, or a pale to grayish yellow. It takes its name from French, where the word originally meant natural wool that has been neither bleached nor dyed, and hence also the color of natural wool. It has come to be used to describe a variety of light tints chosen for their neutral or pale warm appearance. Beige was used as a color term in the modern sense in France beginning approximately 1855-60; the writer Edmond de Goncourt used it in the novel La Fille Elisa in 1877. The first recorded use of beige as a color name in English was in 1887. Beginning in the 1920s, the meaning of beige expanded so that it is now also used not only for pale yellowish-brown colors, but also for a wide range of pale brown and light brown shades. Some of more notable of these tints and shades are shown below. Beige is notoriously difficult to produce in traditional offset CMYK printing due to the low levels of inks used on each plate; often it will print in purple or green and vary within a print run.
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