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While shopping for action figures, I came across various sellers offering "wheat skin" colored figures, for example here and probably more notably Walmart.

That color seems to be what I'd have called 'tan' or 'suntanned', and it certainly doesn't match the yellowish color of wheat. So, where does that name come from?

Of course, those figures are probably 99% produced in China, and "wheat" might just be an inappropriate automatic translation from whatever the Chinese word is. And perhaps it started as a bad translation but has caught on by now. Or maybe there are English-speaking countries that use "Wheat skin" this way, for whatever reason.

So, which is it?

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    Here are a few published written instances of her wheaten skin, which seems natural enough to this native Anglophone (they're very few, though). But the only unambiguously relevant instance in Google Books of her wheat skin (...and beautiful legs) is from an obviously Chinese writer penning "amateur erotica" in English. Nov 17, 2023 at 22:46
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    I suspect it is a direct translation from Chinese, perhaps 小麦肤色 where 小麦 (xiǎomài) means wheat and 肤色 (fūsè) means skin colour/complexion/ethnicity. It seems to be a description of fashionable light skin tone for Chinese women
    – Henry
    Nov 17, 2023 at 23:36
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    The Japanese also refer to their complexion as wheat- colored. Pretty close to the mark, actually.
    – Robusto
    Nov 18, 2023 at 0:51
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    Pssst... answers go in the big box down there ⬇️
    – shoover
    Nov 18, 2023 at 9:48
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    I suspect people are not answering because it's not clear if this is on-topic (being about something that's not a usual English phrase), and it might belong better in Chinese SE or elsewhere.
    – Stuart F
    Nov 18, 2023 at 12:09

1 Answer 1

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Of course, those figures are probably 99% produced in China, and "wheat" might just be an inappropriate automatic translation from whatever the Chinese word is.

This comment seems to be the answer:

I suspect it is a direct translation from Chinese, perhaps 小麦肤色 where 小麦 (xiǎomài) means wheat and 肤色 (fūsè) means skin colour/complexion/ethnicity. It seems to be a description of fashionable light skin tone for Chinese womenHenry

It can be seen that both linked figures are the same. It may well be that, in the case of Walmart, the seller has been asked to provide the description or someone has copied the description from the box.

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  • Accepting this as after one week nobody said that this is a common expression where they are from, and I guess in this case the absence of information is a point of information in itself. Nov 23, 2023 at 17:24

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