If you are into photography or working in the printing and advertising & promotions industries, when I mention cyan or magenta, you would know exactly what I mean - and the exact colours will pop up in your mind's eye.
And if you are working with fashion retailing, you would also know what the below colours meant:
Teal (No, its not a tael of gold or silver. One of the colours impossible to describe!)
Burgundy (Is it a kind of cognac? Wrong. It's liver red.)
Limon (Colour of lemon? Close, but in pastel)
Laypersons would be like "bei kambings" (clueless little white lambs) to the above "precise" colours.
Their colour vocabulary is limited to the colours of the rainbow, and they just add light or dark in front of these colours or combinations like blue-green to convey what they try to mean.
Which is good enough for everyday conversations.
Decide you want to be vague or precise
You bought a new flat and you want your walls to be painted light blue, your home decorator (if professional) would pin you down with either the ICI or Nippon paint colour swatches with a 4 digit code right?
If not, if you argue the finished colour is not "light blue" enough, how?
But if your friend ask you what's the colour of the sky outside, light blue is good enough as a description.
You can't invent your own precision
OK, if you are into creative outputs, you can. Art is all about pushing limits and barriers.
However, when it comes to dollars and cents, the tax man would frown upon creative redefinition of standard accounting terms. That's why we have auditors and accounting standards to adhere to.
If your business makes crazy bumper profits this current year, you can't all of sudden depreciate the new building you've just bought over one year - just to avoid paying too much taxes.
Similarly, you can't depreciate your fleet of delivery vans over 30 years... I know you need to show some accounting profit as your bonus depended on it. But still...
That's why you can't say Burgundy then explain you meant dark brown.
Precision when its not needed
Now its about the reversed.
Perhaps consciously or unconsciously, we tend to lapsed into this vanity. Perhaps its a natural reflex to project ourselves as more professional than we really need to.
If you use words like Teal or Magenta, readers would not treat you as a casual hobbyist. They will assume you are a serious enthusiast.
Similarly, if you drop precision descriptions like in Pantone colour shades, everyone will apply a professional standard to what you say or do.
For those who use numbers instead, the equivalent is if you denote numbers up to 2 decimal places, then you must be prepared for others to apply a higher standard on you as opposed to another person who likes to round up numbers into whole numbers.
Parents, this trick is an easy tell to see if you child is Arts (right brained) or Science (left brained) oriented.
Be slightly concerned if you child is sometimes precise and sometimes grey grey.
It may mean he/she is a hybrid which is fantastic news! He/she can run circles around their peers.
Or it could mean your child is too mature for his/her age... So young already trying to be what others expect of him/her...