Suppose there is online store with hundreds of categories. Some are inactive or disabled. The other ones can be browsed and are enabled. Respectively, inactive are greyed out, active ones are marked with black. How to say correctly?

  • categories greyed out
  • greyed out categories
  • categories marked as grey
  • black marked categories

How to use names of colours in this way to make meaningful sentences? Thanks

  • 3
    In my own experience, not all native speakers understand what is meant by "grayed out", since this is a term which refers to a convention of graphical user interfaces indicating "unavailable". So, how you would say this depends on your audience. Almost any programmer would understand "grayed out" but someone's grandmother might not.
    – TimR
    Commented Dec 22, 2015 at 16:45
  • If you can provide a screenshot or storyboard of the appearance of the items, we may be better able to help you.
    – choster
    Commented Dec 22, 2015 at 17:21

2 Answers 2


The most frequently used expression is "grayed-out." (I use "gray" with an "a" because I live in the US, but "grey" is also a correct spelling. True, as TRomano said, a grandmother may not understand this language. However, I believe that anyone under 60 will understand this phrase. It has become more common throughout the years, and anyone who uses a computer will likely understand the expression. If I were using this phrase in a sentence, I would say something like...

You can choose any option in the menu that is not grayed-out.

Hope this helps!

  • Although, if there is a necessity to emphasize that some category is marked by some color, for example, green? Could you advise some phrase?
    – Irene
    Commented Dec 22, 2015 at 17:17
  • @Iryna_S It would depend on how this is done. For example, if the wording, itself, is green, I would say something like..."As you read through the instructions, look for the helpful tips in green font." If the wording is in black font but highlighted green, I would say..."As you read through the instructions, look for the helpful tips highlighted in green." Commented Dec 22, 2015 at 23:50

TRomano's comment is right - programmers will understand "greyed out" to mean inactive, but not everyone will. To directly answer, though, the proper term would be grayed out categories. It would be very uncommon to hear someone refer to the active links as "blacked out".

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