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List of electronic color code mnemonics

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Title: List of electronic color code mnemonics  
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Subject: List of visual mnemonics, Latin mnemonics, List of medical mnemonics, Mnemonic, List of chemistry mnemonics
Collection: Electrical Engineering, Lists, Mnemonics, Technology-Related Lists
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List of electronic color code mnemonics

Color coded resistors

Mnemonics are used to help memorize the electronic color codes of electronic components such as resistors.

The first letter of the color code is matched by order of increasing magnitude. The electronic color codes, in order, are:

  • Black brown red orange yellow green blue violet gray white.

Some mnemonics that are easy to remember include:

  • Big boys race our young girls but Violet generally wins.[1]
  • Better be right or your great big venture goes west.[2]
  • Beetle Bailey runs over your general before very good witnesses.
  • Buster Brown races our young girls but Violet generally wins.
  • Better be right or your great big plan goes wrong. (p=purple for violet)
  • Back-Breaking Rascals Often Yield Grudgingly But Virtuous Gentlemen Will Give Shelter Nobly (with tolerance bands Gold, Silver or None)

A mnemonic that has attained some traction in recent years is:

  • Big brown rabbits often yield great big vocal groans when gingerly slapped.[3][4][5]

A mnemonic that is used in South Indian classrooms is:

  • B.B. ROY of Great Britain has Very Good Wife.[6][7][8]

Mnemonics commonly taught in UK engineering courses include:

  • Bye Bye Rosie Off You Go Birmingham Via Great Western[9]
  • Bye Bye Rosie Off You Go Bristol Via Great Western[10]
  • Bye Bye Rosie Off You Go do Become a Very Good Wife[8]
  • Bill Brown Realized Only Yesterday Good Boys Value Good Work[10][11]

Popular in the days of vacuum-tube radios:

  • Better Buy Resistors Or Your Grid Bias Voltages Go West (go west=die)

Offensive mnemonics include:

  • Bad beer rots out your guts but vodka goes well.
  • Bad boys run our young girls behind victory garden walls. [12]
  • Bad boys rape our young girls but Violet gives willingly.[13][14] (Get Some Now (refers to the tolerance bands Gold, Silver or None))

Since B can stand for both "black" and "brown", variations were formed such as "Black boys rape our young girls...".[12] At the risk of adding a racism to the mnemonic, "black" has the advantage that it stands for the color of the same name and helps to differentiate it from the other 2 colors that start with 'b'. Though most forms of those mnemonics include bad, boy and but in that order in which the second letter provides for the disambiguation:

  • bad → black
  • boys → brown
  • but → blue

Humorous, offensive, and sexual mnemonics are more memorable (see mnemonic), but these variations are often considered inappropriate for classrooms, and have been implicated as a sign of sexism in science and engineering classes.[15] Dr. Latanya Sweeney, associate professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon, a black woman, mentions the mnemonic ("black boys rape only young girls but Violet gives willingly") as one of the reasons she felt alienated and eventually dropped out of MIT in the 1980s to form her own software company.[16][17]

A teacher in the UK was reprimanded by the General Teaching Council for alluding to and partial use of a racist and sexist version of this mnemonic in 2011. [18]


  1. ^ Meade, Russell L.; Robert Diffenderfer (2004). Foundations of Electronics: Circuits and Devices. Thomson Delmar Learning.  
  2. ^ "Acronyms from the Free BBROYGBVGW". 2013-05-15. Retrieved 2013-05-15. 
  3. ^ Benjamin W. Niebel and Andris Freivalds (2003). Methods, Standards, and Work Design (eleventh ed.). McGraw-Hill Professional. p. 297.  
  4. ^ Jack Ganssle (2004). The Firmware Handbook. Elsevier. p. 10.  
  5. ^ Jack G. Ganssle, Tammy Noergaard, Fred Eady, Lewin Edwards, David J. Katz, Rick Gentile, Ken Arnold, Kamal Hyder, and Bob Perrin (2008). Embedded Hardware: Know It All. Newnes. p. 17.  
  6. ^ Various. Xam Idea - Physics. VK Publications. p. 78.  
  7. ^ Satya Prakash. Physics Vol (1 and 2). VK Publications. p. 254.  
  8. ^ a b S.M., Dhir (1999). "Passive Components". Electronic Components and Materials: Principles Manufacture & Maintenance.  
  9. ^ Sinclair, Ian (2002-03-20). "Resistors, networks and measurements". Electronic and Electrical Servicing: Level 2.  
  10. ^ a b Bhargava, N.N.; Kulshreshtha, D.C.; Gupta, S.C. (1984-01-01). "Introduction to Electronics". Basic Electronics and Linear Circuits.  
  11. ^ Gambhir, R.S. (1993). "DC Circuits". Foundations Of Physics 2.  
  12. ^ a b Indiana University. Midwest Folklore (v.10-11 1960-1961 ed.). 
  13. ^ Booker, M. Keith (1993). Literature and Domination: Sex, Knowledge, and Power in Modern Fiction. University Press of Florida.  
  14. ^ Pynchon, Thomas (1999). V. HarperCollins. p. 560.  
  15. ^ Morse, Mary (2001). Women Changing Science: Voices from a Field in Transition. Basic Books. p. 308.  
  16. ^ Roth, Mark (2005-12-26). "The Thinkers: Data privacy drives CMU expert's work". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2007-07-24. 
  17. ^ Walter, Chip (2007-06-27). "Privacy Isn't Dead, or At Least It Shouldn't Be: A Q&A with Latanya Sweeney". Scientific American. Retrieved 2007-07-24. 
  18. ^ Hersey, James (2011-02-25). "'"BBC News - Sussex teacher reprimanded over 'racist rhyme. Retrieved 2013-01-23. 
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