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Auburn (/ˈɔːbərn/) is a term often used to describe a variety of shades of medium to dark reddish-brown or red hair. The term originates from the Old French word "alborne", meaning blond, coming to English via the Middle English "auburne".


The word "Auburn" comes from the Old French "alborne", which meant blond. The English term was derived from the Middle English word "auburne". The word was reinterpreted as containing the Latin word "burnus", meaning brown, leading to a shift in its meaning to "reddish-brown".

Related Terms

  • Hair color: Auburn is a shade of hair color, which is a characteristic of mammals. Hair color ranges from the lightest blond shades to the darkest black shades.
  • Red hair: Auburn is a variant of red hair, which is caused by a relatively rare recessive gene.
  • Brown hair: Auburn hair is often considered a type of brown hair. It is characterized by higher levels of the dark pigment eumelanin and lower levels of the pale pigment pheomelanin.
  • Pigmentation: Auburn hair involves the pigmentation of the hair follicle. Pigmentation is determined by two chemicals, eumelanin and pheomelanin.
  • Eumelanin: This is the type of pigment that is responsible for brown to black hair shades. Auburn hair has high levels of eumelanin.
  • Pheomelanin: This is the type of pigment that is responsible for golden blond, ginger, and red hair shades. Auburn hair has lower levels of pheomelanin.

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