'Burgundy' vs 'Maroon': What's the Difference?

By Katie Moore, updated on September 4, 2023

‘Burgundy’ vs ‘Maroon’: What’s the difference? We often use words to specify a more general version of something, like a certain model or shade of a color. But we can only be specific when we’ve learned to properly use these new words. This article will help you understand the difference between ‘Burgundy’ vs ‘Maroon.’

In a hurry? Here’s a quick overview of what’s to come: 

  • ‘Burgundy’ is a word that refers to a deep wine shade of red
  • ‘Maroon’ is a word that refers to a brownish shade of red

What’s the Difference Between ‘Burgundy’ vs ‘Maroon’?

The main difference between these two words is that they refer to two different shades of red. While there are some arguments over the exact shades, we are here to settle the debate and make learning these words easy. 

Both ‘Burgundy’ and Maroon’ have the base color of red, but they each have distinct undertones that give them different hues.

  • ‘Burgundy’ has a purple undertone, making it brighter and more rich.
  • Meanwhile, ‘Maroon’ has brown undertones, making it more earthy and matte. 

Remembering this distinction can be easy using some language tricks.

  • If you remember ‘bright Burgundy,’ you can link that to its particular shade. You can also use the letter “u” inside ‘Burgundy’ to link to the “u” inside ‘Purple’. 
  • To remember ‘Maroon,’ we can look to other languages as guides. In many romance languages, the word for “brown” actually looks very similar to ‘Maroon’:

For example, in Spanish, they use the word “marrón”. In Italian, they use the word “Marrone,” and in Catalan, they use the word “marró.”

These other languages quite literally spell out the connection between ‘brown’ and the English ‘Maroon,’ which has brown undertones. This goes to show that we can use other languages that we know to expand our vocabulary cross-linguistically. 

Of course, a tricky thing about ‘Burgundy’ vs ‘Maroon’ is that they each have other definitions as well. So, let’s learn a bit more about these new words individually. 

Definition of ‘Burgundy’: What Does it Mean? 

According to Oxford Languages, ‘Burgundy’ is a noun that means: 

  • A deep reddish-purple shade inspired by wine from the Burgundy region 
    • “She wore a beautiful burgundy sweater.”

‘Burgundy’ is also the name of a historical region in east-central France, famous for its burgundy wines. The region was named for the ancient Germanic tribe, Burgundians. The word ‘Burgundy’ often revolves around the wine, whether referring to its color, inclusion in a recipe, or the drink itself. 

Synonyms of ‘Burgundy’

  • Crimson
  • Scarlet
  • Wine
  • Carmine

Antonyms of ‘Burgundy’

  • Clear
  • Pale
  • White (as in wine)
  • Rosé

Phrases with ‘Burgundy’

  • From burgundy
  • Burgundy region
  • Glass of burgundy
  • Shade of burgundy

Definition of ‘Maroon’: What Does it Mean?

According to Oxford Languages, ‘Maroon’ is an adjective that means:

  • Of a brownish-red color
    • “Ornate maroon and gold wallpaper.”

As a noun, ‘Maroon’ also means:

  • A brownish-crimson color
    • “The hat is available in either white or maroon.”
  • A firework that makes a loud bang, used mainly as a signal or warning

As a verb, ‘Maroon’ can mean:

  • To leave someone trapped and isolated in an inaccessible place, especially an island
    • “A novel about schoolboys marooned on a desert island.”

Finally, as a proper noun, ‘Maroon’ refers to: 

  • A member of various communities in parts of the Caribbean who were originally descended from escaped slaves. In the 18th century, Jamaican Maroons fought two wars against the British settlers, which ended in treaties affirming the independence of the Maroons. 
    • “We don’t know what languages were spoken by the Maroons.”

Synonyms of ‘Maroon’

  • Chestnut
  • Crimson
  • Abandon
  • Isolate
  • Stranded

Antonym of ‘Maroon’

  • Peach
  • Pale 
  • Help
  • Rescue
  • Save

Phrases with ‘Maroon’

  • Maroon decorations
  • Marooned alone
  • Fire a maroon
  • Maroon people

Pronunciations: How to Pronounce ‘Burgundy’ vs ‘Maroon’

While writing is a major factor in language learning, we also want you to feel confident when you're speaking. Since words like ‘Burgundy’ vs ‘Maroon’ typically appear in a more specific art-related environment, we want you to be able to properly pronounce the words when engaging in conversation — and to recognize them when they are said to you. 

Use this phonetic spelling of ‘Burgundy’ as a guide: 

  • ‘Bur-guhn-dee’ (the first “u” sounds like the vowel in ‘bird’ while the second “u” sounds like the vowel in ‘fun’)

Use this phonetic spelling of ‘Maroon’ as a guide: 

  • ‘Muh-roo-n’ (with the letter “a” being flat as in the word “mug”)

How to Use ‘Burgundy’ vs ‘Maroon’ in a Sentence

The final step to learning new vocabulary is ensuring you can use it in a real-world scenario. Sometimes, the best way to learn this is by studying other examples so you get a feel for the variety of contexts in which these words can appear since they have multiple definitions. Use these sample sentences below as a guide.

‘Burgundy’ Example Sentences

  • After spilling her wine during dinner, there was now a burgundy splotch on her white sweater. 
  • The capital city of the region of Burgundy is Dijon, which is famous for its flavor of mustard. 
  • He thought a glass of Burgundy would pair well with the roast beef he had prepared for dinner. 

‘Maroon’ Example Sentences

  • Many runways now featured clothing in maroon as styles switched from summer fashion to the fall season. 
  • The pirates marooned the traitor on a desert island and left him only a bottle of water and a pistol with one shot. 
  • Since maroon was such a rich color, it was considered very expensive in ancient times because it was hard to make. 
  • The sailor shot a maroon high in the sky to try and signal other ships of the sharp rocks ahead

‘Burgundy’ vs ‘Maroon’ Example Sentences

  • The couple argued in the paint aisle for an hour over whether to paint their living room maroon or burgundy
  • The designer’s keen eye told her that the purple undertones of the fabric made it burgundy and, thus, more enticing than a dull maroon

Final Advice on ‘Burgundy’ vs ‘Maroon’

One of the best parts about learning new words is being able to get more specific with your descriptions. Also, when learning words like ‘Burgundy’ vs ‘Maroon’, which have multiple definitions within themselves, you unlock a whole new set of uses for just two words. 

Want a recap? Here’s a short overview of what was covered: 

  • ‘Burgundy’ is a noun that means a red color with purple undertones that comes from the French region of Burgundy.
  • Meanwhile, ‘Maroon’ is a noun that means a brownish-red color, as well as to strand someone.

Want to keep expanding your language knowledge? Be sure to check out other confusing word pairs that will not only help make your vocabulary more precise, but also serve as cultural and historical lessons like the ones above. Remember that you can unlock so many words just by learning the specifics.

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Written By:
Katie Moore
Katie is a recent graduate of Occidental College where she worked as a writer and editor for the school paper while studying linguistics and journalism. She loves helping others find their voice in writing and making their work the strongest it can be. Katie also loves learning and speaking other languages and wants to help make writing accessible for everyone.

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