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How to Remember a Rainbow's Colors in Order

I am a mother, traveler, and experienced au pair. I love sharing my experiences with readers online.

What's an easy way to remember the order of the rainbow colors?

What's an easy way to remember the order of the rainbow colors?

The Colors of the Rainbow

Rainbows are a captivating, natural phenomenon. When one is spotted, you often see people pull out their cameras to document having seen it and can hear them talk and discuss its beauty amongst one another. Rainbows have been occurring longer than humankind has been around and, through the centuries and millennia, have taken on symbolic meaning.

They are mentioned in biblical texts and Norse mythology and are widely associated with the Irish leprechaun. How many times as a child were you told to find the leprechaun's pot of gold at the end of the rainbow?

Then, in 1978, the queer community adopted the colors of the rainbow—well six of the colors—as the official flag for LGBT+ pride and associated social movements. It is now widely seen across the world in pride parades, in particular during pride month.

But, when drawing a rainbow, how do you know which colors go where? Young children often know their colors, but then find themselves struggling to remember the order of colors in a rainbow. Luckily, there is an easy way to remember the order in which they go. It comes down to remembering the name of just one (fake) man!

Who is Roy G. Biv?

I'd like to introduce you to someone who will become your best friend when trying to remember the order of a rainbow's colors. His name is Roy G. Biv. Though the name may sound silly, Roy G. Biv is actually just an acronym for the colors you need to remember. Let's break it down.

R = Red

O = Orange

Y = Yellow

G = Green

B = Blue

I = Indigo

V = Violet

A diagram of a rainbow's colors and the corresponding letters of the name Roy G. Biv.

A diagram of a rainbow's colors and the corresponding letters of the name Roy G. Biv.

A Note About Indigo

Originally, famed English mathematician and physicist, Sir Isaac Newton described only five primary colors of the rainbow. He later added orange and indigo. It is said he added these colors so that there would be seven colors to match the seven notes in a musical scale.

Later on, some color theorists chose to replace indigo and violet with a single hue, either purple or violet. Some people are adamant about removing indigo from the rainbow colors. I personally like the look of the seven colors, as pictured above. Other people today choose to call Newton's blue cyan and indigo blue, but ultimately, it is up to your discretion.

The video below is a great song you can listen to help you remember the order of the rainbow's colors. Memorize the lyrics and you'll surely be able to recall them at a moment's notice!

Here is the first paragraph of the lyrics. These are going to be the most important lines you'll want to remember.

"Roy G. Biv" by Neel and Patty Shukla

"Here's a little song about Roy G. Biv. He makes up all the colors that you see where you live. If you know all the colors, sing them with me: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet all that you see."

If you remember the first three lines of this song, you'll have the order of the rainbow colors down cold. And trust me, this song will get stuck in your head.

Light refracts and reflects through a raindrop, creating a rainbow.

Light refracts and reflects through a raindrop, creating a rainbow.

What Causes a Rainbow?

Once you understand what causes a rainbow, you'll understand that the order of the rainbow colors isn't a random jumbling of colors that simply looks appealing to the eye.

A rainbow is created by something called light refraction. The color of light is actually made up of all the colors of the rainbow. As light rays travel through the air, they appear to us as white light. When sunlight hits an object, such as mist or raindrops, the rays are refracted (or bent) and then reflected off the inside of the drops. The angle of bending is different for different wavelengths of light. And we observe these various wavelengths as different colors. The color red bends the most, and violet the least.

A rainbow will always be on the opposite side of the sky as the sun from the observer. The rainbow colors are reflected on the eye at 42 degrees of the original ray of sunlight. Seeing a rainbow depends on the angle of the sun in relation to where you are. This means that two people will never see the exact same rainbow!

I hope this information and the acronym Roy G. Biv help you out! I've provided a few more links on the topic of colors to help you learn even more now that you've mastered the order of the rainbow!

A rainbow sneaks its way through the clouds.

A rainbow sneaks its way through the clouds.

More Teaching Resources About Colors

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


Stayley on May 07, 2020:

were is the pink?

i thought it was red orange yellow green pink purple and blue i have never heard of the colour Indigo

Charles on April 21, 2020:

It's strange but I never had to memorize the order of colors, it just is naturally there automatically in my brain. Maybe it's due to me being a visual thinker who has more trouble with text.

J.Ball on March 23, 2020:

What's wrong with Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain (it helps with history knowledge too).

Josh on January 23, 2020:

This is a useful website on November 07, 2019:

I wanted to use the rainbow colours on my seascapes paitings. Thank you for the knowledge.

farhana on September 17, 2019:

Rinse Out Your Greasy Bowl In Vinegar

Ellen Gregory from Connecticut, USA on August 09, 2019:

Such a cute yet informative article. I was looking for a resource on colors of the rainbow for a craft I am doing. This fit the bill nicely.

Jeff on June 11, 2019:

I like big boys itty bitty Mississippi boys in the city boys I like the pretty boys with the bow tie get your nails did let em blow dry I like a big beard I like a clean face I don't discriminate come and get a taste

V-man on June 09, 2019:

Run Of Young Girls Boys In View

Run - Red

Of - Orange

Young - Yellow

Girls - Green

Boy - Blue

In - Indigo

View - Violet

M'y name is Guillaume Arpin on June 03, 2019:

For the reel colors order fit..

Porky on April 30, 2019:

The real question is how fat is Big Chungus?

Bev on March 14, 2019:

There are other ways I remember them like this hope it helps you :)

Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain :

R - Richard

O - of

Y - York

G - gave

B - battle

I - in

V - vain

suck ur mum on October 09, 2018:


Emily coats on June 02, 2018:

I like the rainbow song it so fun I sang with it very much can you put more rainbow song on it and it so fun because I like it very much thank you From: Emily coats To: author I love the rainbow song it so beautiful thank you to put some more difference music out there thank you very much your welcome thank you author very much ok and I like the video very much thank you author because I like the song very much and the reading the whole reading of paraphs

caden_patton on March 26, 2018:

this helps alot. thanks for making this artical

M. Cesena on March 20, 2018:

Happy Vernal Equinox/First Day of Spring. Wish I could conjure a rainbow today. Thank you for the information

COOKIE-RAMA on February 06, 2018:

im at school and this helped me

Gayle on September 01, 2017:

I vaguely remember a song taught to me at school.

Richard of york.................. can't for the life of me remember the rest would help me rekindle some youth (also will help me to top my daughter making me use my little little grey cells :P

Nikita on June 05, 2017:


R= Richard

O= of

Y= York

G= gave

B= battle



BANGIE on May 18, 2017:

Really Offensive YouTube Games Built Into Videos

hosana on May 06, 2017:


Snehalatha Bright on May 02, 2017:

Very good

Hi on March 29, 2017:

You need more rainbow colors and pictures of them to.

Rodney Thompson on September 19, 2016:

You say Red bends the most and violet the least. However your diagram indicates otherwise and the sites for 'refraction' all state that red bends the least and violet the most. I think you must be wrong.

Yours Rodney

isabirye fredrick busesa on May 25, 2015:

Run Out Your Girl Betty Is Vomitting

theera on April 04, 2015:

It's really help me for know the how to remembering the order of rainbow colors. ..

roy g.biv.

teacher on October 26, 2013:

Richard Of York Gain Battle In Vain-

Laura Ross on March 16, 2013:

What a fun hub about remembering the colors of the rainbow! I will have fun teaching these ideas and songs to my grandson of five.

The photographs used here are amazing. Love the one with the rainbow stretched across the sky. Great hub, voted up and useful!