'Teal' vs 'Turquoise' vs 'Aqua' vs 'Mint': What's the Difference?

By Katie Moore, updated on August 29, 2023

‘Teal’ vs ‘Turquoise’ vs ‘Aqua’ vs ‘Mint’: What’s the difference? Let’s get to know the difference between ‘Teal’ vs ‘Turquoise’ vs ‘Aqua’ vs ‘Mint.’

In a hurry? Here’s a quick preview of what you’ll learn: 

  • ‘Teal’ is a dark greenish-blue color
  • ‘Turquoise’ is a pale greenish-blue color
  • ‘Aqua’ is a light blueish-green mixture
  • ‘Mint’ is a light shade of green

What’s the Difference Between ‘Teal’ vs ‘Turquoise’ vs ‘Aqua’ vs ‘Mint’?

The primary commonality between ‘Teal’ vs ‘Turquoise’ vs Aqua’ vs ‘Mint’ is that they are all more specific names for varying shades of color.

  • More precisely, they are all combinations of blue and green, but they vary in brightness and level of combination. 

So how do we tell them apart? We’ve found that placing them on a sliding scale helps separate them and gives an idea of their specific color combinations.

The scale goes from darkest to lightest, as well as bluest to greenest. 

  • First is ‘Teal’ which is the dark of the four colors. It is more green than blue when the colors are mixed, and also has more gray undertones. 
  • Next is ‘Aqua,’ which is a similar mix but is much paler and does not include any gray. The color is known for its bubbliness and reflects the color of clear water. 
  • Third is ‘Turquoise’ which airs on the greener side of aqua yet still includes some vibrant blue. It is a very bright yet calm color.
  • Finally comes ‘Mint’ which is the greenest of the shades, and actually contains very little blue. It’s a color that is reflective of nature and can be both bright and deep. 

Now that you have an idea of how the colors flow, it may be easier to see how they both relate and are different from each other. But let’s take a closer look at these colors individually. 

Definition of ‘Teal’: What Does it Mean?

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

  • A dark greenish-blue color
  • A small freshwater duck, typically with a greenish band on the wing that is most prominent in flight 

The color ‘Teal’ is meant to evoke serenity and renovation, and it is often seen as a more reserved color. 

Definition of ‘Turquoise’: What Does it Mean? 

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

  • A pale greenish-blue color
    • “The turquoise waters of the bay.”
  • A semiprecious stone, typically opaque and of greenish-blue color or sky-blue color, consisting of a hydrated hydroxyl phosphate of copper and aluminum. 

The origin of the word ‘Turquoise’ comes from the French ‘turqouis’, which means Turkish. This is because when the stone and the color were first discovered in the 17th century, the stone was shipped from Turkey. 

Definition of ‘Aqua’: What Does it Mean?

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

  • A light bluish-green color, short for aquamarine
    • “Houses of yellow and aqua.”
  • Especially in pharmaceutical or commercial use, water

As a prefix, ‘Aqua-’ also means:

  • Relating to water
    • Aquaculture.”
  • Relating to water sports or aquatic entertainment
    • “An aquacade.”

The term directly translates from the Latin ‘Aqua’ which means water, which is reflected in the bright and clear bluish nature of the color. It is often meant to represent youth and revitalization, and also note it is frequently interchanged with the other color term ‘Cyan.’

Definition of ‘Mint’: What Does it Mean? 

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

  • A light shade of green that represents freshness
  • An aromatic plant native to temperate regions of the Old World, several kinds of which are used as culinary herbs
    • “Plant mint in a large pot with drainage holes.”
  • The flavor of mint, especially peppermint
    • “A tasty mint and chocolate-flavored candy.”
  • A peppermint candy
    • “He pulled out a packet of mints from his pocket.”
  • A place where money is coined, especially under state authority
    • “Die links between coins indicate that they were made at the same mint.”
  • (informally) vast sum of money

As an adjective, ‘Mint’ can also mean: 

  • (of an object) in pristine condition, as new
    • “A pair of speakers, including stands, mint, for only one hundred bucks.”

Finally, as a verb, ‘Mint’ can mean: 

  • Make a coin by stamping metal
    • “Only coins of a high denomination were minted.”
  • Produce for the first time
    • “An example of newly minted technology.”

The word ‘Mint’ has origins in the Germanic Old English ‘mynet’ which meant “coin,” as well as the Latin ‘moneta’ which meant “money.” We can see the link to the modern definition, and also know that some money is green which may have caused a link to the color as well. 

Pronunciations: How to Pronounce ‘Teal’ vs ‘Turquoise’ vs ‘Aqua’ vs ‘Mint’

While knowing how to use words in writing is important, it’s just as necessary to be able to say them properly out loud. We engage in conversation almost more than we write, so feeling comfortable with pronouncing new words can be the key to feeling comfortable using them while speaking. 

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

  • ‘Teel’ (the word relies on the “e” as its driving vowel)

Refer to this phonetic spelling of ‘Turquoise’ as a guide:

  • ‘Tur-koy-z’ (the “qu” sound is the same as a “k,” and the “se” at the end of the word is more aspirated) 

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

  • ‘Ah-kwa’ (again, the “qu” sounds like a “k,” and both “a” sounds are wide)

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

  • ‘Mih-nt’ (the vowel is short, and sounds like “spin” rather than “line”)

How to Use ‘Teal’ vs ‘Turquoise’ vs ‘Aqua’ vs ‘Mint’ in a Sentence

The final step of learning new words is making sure you can actually use them. While all these words may appear in a similar artistic context, they also each have other meanings that you’ll need to feel confident using as well. Here are some sample sentences to give you an idea of how these words may appear in real-world scenarios. 

‘Teal’ Example Sentences

  • The Eurasian Teal duck is known to be one of the more delicious and delicate ducks and is often hunted for its taste.
  • They painted their walls teal to create a calming effect and make the room more serene. 
  • The Teal duck can be identified by its specially colored wing stripe, but you have to look very closely to see it. 

‘Turquoise’ Example Sentences

  • She went to the salon and got both a manicure and pedicure with matching turquoise nails for both sets. 
  • The miners had accidentally come across a large quantity of turquoise that would be great to use to make jewelry. 
  • The French student thought his friend’s favorite color was Turkish when he said turquoise until he realized he meant the bluish color named for the country. 

‘Aqua’ Example Sentences

  • Aqua is a nickname for the word aquamarine, which is the birthstone of the month of March. 
  • The river was a stunning shade of aqua that glimmered like glass in the sun. 
  • Aqua and hot pink were a popular color combination in the early 2000s because they were bright and sassy. 

‘Mint’ Example Sentences

  • Her favorite flavor of ice cream to order for dessert was mint chocolate chip. 
  • Many restaurants will add a leaf or two of mint to the top of their dishes as a garnish. 
  • The toy doll had never left the box and was in mint condition, which is why it was making so much money on eBay.
  • We went on a field trip to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, which is where they mint most of the money in the United States. 

Final Advice on ‘Teal’ vs ‘Turquoise’ vs ‘Aqua’ vs ‘Mint’

Learning to be more specific with your vocabulary can be the key to making your writing not only more precise but more sophisticated as well. Remember, it can be just as important to see how words flow together and relate as it is to be able to tell them apart — that way, we can see the extent of their relationship. 

Need a recap? Here’s a quick review of what we covered: 

  • ‘Teal’ is a noun meaning a species of duck as well as a dark greenish-blue color.
  • ‘Turquoise’ is a noun meaning a pale greenish blue, named for a stone.
  • ‘Aqua’ is a noun named for the Latin “water,” and means a bluish-green color.
  • Finally, ‘Mint’ is a light green shade, as well as a plant, flavor, and way of creating money. 

Want to learn more about specific sets of colorful words? Be sure to check out other confusing word articles to learn more and expand your vocabulary even further.

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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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