Red, black, lime green, hot pink — these are all examples of colours, or the different kinds of hues that objects have (spelled the British way).

Imagine the colours of the rainbow or the colours in a box of crayons. But don't get thrown off by the spelling of this word for pigmentation. When Noah Webster was compiling his dictionary in 1828, he wanted to emphasize that the young United States spoke a different dialect than Britain. Colour with a "u" is a British spelling, and it was probably Webster who shortened it to color in America. Words like honour and flavour got the same treatment.

Primary Meanings of colour

a visual attribute of things that results from the light they emit or transmit or reflect
decorate with colors
having or capable of producing colors
a race with skin pigmentation different from the white race (especially Blacks)
interest and variety and intensity
modify or bias
the timbre of a musical sound
(physics) the characteristic of quarks that determines their role in the strong interaction
an outward or token appearance or form that is deliberately misleading
give a deceptive explanation or excuse for
Full Definitions of colour

n a visual attribute of things that results from the light they emit or transmit or reflect

color, coloring, colouring
achromaticity, achromatism, colorlessness, colourlessness
the visual property of being without chromatic color
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primary color, primary colour
any of three colors from which all others can be obtained by mixing
heather, heather mixture
interwoven yarns of mixed colors producing muted greyish shades with flecks of color
an irregular arrangement of patches of color
shade, tincture, tint, tone
a quality of a given color that differs slightly from another color
chromatic color, chromatic colour, spectral color, spectral colour
a color that has hue
achromatic color, achromatic colour
a color lacking hue; white or grey or black
coloration, colouration
appearance with regard to color
complexion, skin color, skin colour
the coloring of a person's face
dithered color, dithered colour, nonsolid color, nonsolid colour
a color produced by a pattern of differently colored dots that together simulate the desired color
primary color for pigments, primary colour for pigments
any of three pigments from which all colors can be obtained by mixing
primary color for light, primary colour for light
any of three primary colors of light from which all colors can be obtained by additive mixing
a soft shade of a color
a strong deep vividness of hue
tinge, undertone
a pale or subdued color
black, blackness, inkiness
the quality or state of the achromatic color of least lightness (bearing the least resemblance to white)
white, whiteness
the quality or state of the achromatic color of greatest lightness (bearing the least resemblance to black)
gray, grayness, grey, greyness
a neutral achromatic color midway between white and black
red, redness
red color or pigment; the chromatic color resembling the hue of blood
orange, orangeness
orange color or pigment; any of a range of colors between red and yellow
a pale pinkish orange color
yellow, yellowness
yellow color or pigment; the chromatic color resembling the hue of sunflowers or ripe lemons
blond, blonde
a light grayish yellow to near white
green, greenness, viridity
green color or pigment; resembling the color of growing grass
blue, blueness
blue color or pigment; resembling the color of the clear sky in the daytime
purple, purpleness
a purple color or pigment
a light shade of red
brown, brownness
an orange of low brightness and saturation
a yellow-green color of low brightness and saturation
any of various pale or light colors
complementary, complementary color
either one of two chromatic colors that when mixed together give white (in the case of lights) or grey (in the case of pigments)
hair coloring
coloring of the hair
coloration of living tissues by pigment
absence or loss of pigmentation (or less than normal pigmentation) in the skin or hair
blondness, fairness, paleness
the property of having a naturally light complexion
rosiness, ruddiness
a healthy reddish complexion
achromasia, lividity, lividness, luridness, paleness, pallidness, pallor, wanness
unnatural lack of color in the skin (as from bruising or sickness or emotional distress)
a sickly yellowish skin color
the quality or state of being the color of tanned leather
darkness, duskiness, swarthiness
a swarthy complexion
lightness or fairness of complexion
protective coloration
coloration making an organism less visible or attractive to predators
Type of:
visual property
an attribute of vision

n the appearance of objects (or light sources) described in terms of a person's perception of their hue and lightness (or brightness) and saturation

Type of:
appearance, visual aspect
outward or visible aspect of a person or thing

n any material used for its color

color, coloring material, colouring material
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paint, pigment
a substance used as a coating to protect or decorate a surface (especially a mixture of pigment suspended in a liquid); dries to form a hard coating
(chemistry) a substance that changes color to indicate the presence of some ion or substance; can be used to indicate the completion of a chemical reaction or (in medicine) to test for a particular reaction
a substance used to treat leather or other materials before dyeing; aids in dyeing process
dye, dyestuff
a usually soluble substance for staining or coloring e.g. fabrics or hair
a substances that colors metals
a reddish coloring material found in some algae
dry coloring material (especially a powder to be mixed with a liquid to produce paint, etc.)
any substance whose presence in plant or animal tissues produces a characteristic color
(microscopy) a dye or other coloring material that is used in microscopy to make structures visible
chlorophyl, chlorophyll
any of a group of green pigments found in photosynthetic organisms; there are four naturally occurring forms
a substance in photosensitive bacteria that is related to but different from chlorophyll of higher plants
water-soluble proteinaceous pigments found in red algae and cyanobacteria
red pigment in red algae
blue pigment in algae
acrylic, acrylic paint
used especially by artists
antifouling paint
a paint used to protect against the accumulation of barnacles etc. on underwater surfaces
coat of paint
a layer of paint covering something else
paint made by mixing the pigments with water and a binder
a paint that dries to a hard glossy finish
a paint consisting of pigment mixed with melted beeswax; it is fixed with heat after application
finger paint, fingerpaint
paint that has the consistency of jelly
house paint, housepaint
paint used to cover the exterior woodwork of a house
oil paint
paint in which a drying oil is the vehicle
a paint that dries with a finish between glossy and flat
spray paint
paint applied with a spray gun
water-base paint
paint in which water is used as the vehicle
absorption indicator
an indicator used in reactions that involve precipitation
acid-base indicator
an indicator that changes color on going from acidic to basic solutions
Molisch reaction, Molisch test, Molisch's test, alpha-naphthol test
biochemical indicator of the presence of carbohydrates in a solution; if carbohydrates are present a violet ring is formed by reaction with alpha-naphthol in the presence of sulfuric acid
titania, titanic oxide, titanium dioxide, titanium oxide
a white powder used as a pigment for its high covering power and durability
cobalt blue, cobalt ultramarine
greenish-blue pigment consisting essentially of cobalt oxide and alumina
earth color
a colored mineral used as a pigment
mosaic gold, stannic sulfide
a yellow pigment sometimes suspended in lacquer
any of a class of highly unsaturated yellow to red pigments occurring in plants and animals
acid dye
dye in which the chromophore is part of a negative ion
alizarin yellow
any of various yellow dyes; not related chemically to alizarin but applied in the same manner
anil, indigo, indigotin
a blue dye obtained from plants or made synthetically
aniline dye
any of many dyes made from aniline
animal pigment
pigment occurring in animals
azo dye
any dye containing one or more azo groups
crystal violet, gentian violet
a green crystal (violet in water) used as a dye or stain or bactericide or fungicide or anthelmintic or burn treatment
methylene blue, methylthionine chloride
a dark green dye used as a stain, an antiseptic, a chemical indicator, and an antidote in cyanide poisoning
basic color, basic colour, basic dye
a dye that is considered to be a base because the chromophore is part of a positive ion
cerulean blue
light greenish-blue pigment consisting essentially of oxides of cobalt and tin
chrome green
any of a class of green pigments consisting of chrome yellow and iron blue
Hooker's green
green pigment consisting of Prussian blue mixed with gamboge
chrome yellow
any of several yellow pigments consisting of normal lead chromate and other lead compounds
bister, bistre
a water-soluble brownish-yellow pigment made by boiling wood soot
any of a large class of plant pigments having a chemical structure based on or similar to flavone
Indian red
a red pigment composed in part from ferric oxide which is often used in paints and cosmetics
ivory black
a black pigment made from grinding burnt ivory in oil
Prussian blue, iron blue
any of various blue pigments
Payne's gray, Payne's grey
any pigment that produces a greyish to dark greyish blue
chrome alum
a violet-colored salt used in hide tanning and as a mordant in dyeing
antimony potassium tartrate, tartar emetic
a poisonous colorless salt used as a mordant and in medicine
oxidation-reduction indicator
an indicator that shows a reversible color change between oxidized and reduced forms
a metal tincture used in heraldry to give a silvery appearance
alizarin, alizarine
an orange-red crystalline compound used in making red pigments and in dyeing
blue, blueing, bluing
used to whiten laundry or hair or give it a bluish tinge
bromophenol blue, bromphenol blue, tetrabromo-phenolsulfonephthalein
a dye used as an acid-base indicator
bromothymol blue, bromthymol blue
a dye used as an acid-base indicator
a red dyestuff consisting of dried bodies of female cochineal insects
cyanine dye
any of a class of dyes containing a -CH= group linking two heterocyclic rings containing nitrogen; used as sensitizers in photography
direct dye, substantive dye
dye with a high affinity for cellulose fibers (cotton or rayon etc.)
fluorescein, fluoresceine, fluorescent dye, resorcinolphthalein
a yellow dye that is visible even when highly diluted; used as an absorption indicator when silver nitrate solution is added to sodium chloride in order to precipitate silver chloride (turns pink when no chloride ions are left in solution and negative fluorescein ions are then absorbed)
any of various fluorescent substances used in fluorescence microscopy to stain specimens
hair coloring, hair dye
a dye or tint for the hair
Kendal, Kendal green
a green dye, often used to color cloth, which is obtained from the woad plant
lac dye
scarlet dye like cochineal; extracted with alkali from stick lac
lead acetate, sugar of lead
a poisonous white solid (Pb[CH3CO]2) used in dyeing cotton and in making enamels and varnishes
archil, cudbear, orchil
a purplish dye obtained from orchil lichens
a soft oily clay used as a pigment (especially a reddish brown pigment)
any of numerous bright translucent organic pigments
a purplish red pigment prepared from lac or cochineal
any pigment producing the orange color
water-color, water-colour, watercolor, watercolour
water-soluble pigment
a yellow dye made from the bark of the quercitron oak tree
radiopaque dye
dye that does not allow the passage of X rays or other radiation; used to outline certain organs during X-ray examination
saffranine, safranin, safranine
any of a class of chiefly red organic dyes
Tyrian purple
a red-purple to deep purple dye obtained from snails or made synthetically
vat color, vat dye
a water-insoluble dye that is applied by reducing the dye to an alkaline form, applying the dye, then regenerating the insoluble dye by oxidation in the material; used for dyeing cotton
a blue dyestuff obtained from the woad plant
retinal, retinene
either of two yellow to red retinal pigments formed from rhodopsin by the action of light
Paris green
a toxic double salt of copper arsenate and copper acetate
sodium bichromate, sodium dichromate
a red-orange salt used as a mordant
rich brown pigment prepared from the ink of cuttlefishes
any of various pigments distributed widely in living tissues
haem, haemitin, hematin, heme, protoheme
a complex red organic pigment containing iron and other atoms to which oxygen binds
haemosiderin, hemosiderin
a granular brown substance composed of ferric oxide; left from the breakdown of hemoglobin; can be a sign of disturbed iron metabolism
a stain of contrasting color that is used when the principal stain does not show the structure clearly
ultramarine, ultramarine blue
blue pigment made of powdered lapis lazuli
a special pigment found in the rods and cones of the retina
cadmium yellow
pigment of cadmium sulfide and barium sulfate varying in hue from lemon yellow to orange
cupric acetate, verdigris
a blue or green powder used as a paint pigment
ceruse, lead carbonate, white lead
a poisonous white pigment that contains lead
Chinese white, zinc white
a white pigment used in house paints; consists of zinc oxide
Type of:
material, stuff
the tangible substance that goes into the makeup of a physical object

v decorate with colors

color, emblazon
paint with red lead or vermilion
Type of:
adorn, beautify, decorate, embellish, grace, ornament
make more attractive by adding ornament, colour, etc.

v add color to

color, color in, colorise, colorize, colour in, colourise, colourize
lose color or turn colorless
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color with blackwash
motley, parti-color
make motley; color with different colors
polychrome, polychromise, polychromize
color with many colors; make polychrome
color azure
empurple, purple, purpurate
color purple
turn golden
color verdigris
make pink
make flesh-colored
brown, embrown
make brown in color
handcolor, handcolour
color by hand
tinct, tinge, tint, touch
color lightly
color or dye with a pigment
hue, imbue
suffuse with color
give retouches to (hair)
make silver in color
gray, grey
make grey
change to a color image
make red
blotch, mottle, streak
mark with spots or blotches of different color or shades of color as if stained
apply henna to one's hair
color a moderate to strong red
stain or tint with a color
give a certain color to
make crimson
color vermilion
color carmine
make ruby red
redden as if with a red ocher color
Type of:
alter, change, modify
cause to change; make different; cause a transformation

v change color, often in an undesired manner

color, discolor, discolour
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blush, crimson, flush, redden
turn red, as if in embarrassment or shame
blanch, blench, pale
turn pale, as if in fear
bronze, tan
get a tan, from wind or sun
burn, sunburn
get a sunburn by overexposure to the sun
white, whiten
turn white
black, blacken, melanise, melanize, nigrify
make or become black
change color
turn silver
color with dye
turn red or redder
become purple
gray, grey
turn grey
turn yellow
change the color or tone of
turn or become green
turn blue
get a tan from being exposed to the sun
make whiter or lighter
give the color and appearance of bronze to something
color for microscopic study
dye thoroughly
impress, yarn-dye
dye (fabric) before it is spun
color with a liquid dye or tint
fast dye
dye with fast colors
double dye
dye twice
dye by hand
dye after weaving
become rosy or reddish
Type of:
undergo a change; become different in essence; losing one's or its original nature

adj having or capable of producing colors

black and white, black-and-white
not having or not capable of producing colors

n a race with skin pigmentation different from the white race (especially Blacks)

color, people of color, people of colour
Type of:
people who are believed to belong to the same genetic stock

n interest and variety and intensity

color, vividness
Type of:
interest, interestingness
the power of attracting or holding one's attention (because it is unusual or exciting etc.)

v modify or bias

Type of:
act upon, influence, work
have and exert influence or effect

v affect as in thought or feeling

color, distort, tinge
Type of:
affect, bear on, bear upon, impact, touch, touch on
have an effect upon

n the timbre of a musical sound

color, coloration, colouration
Type of:
quality, timber, timbre, tone
(music) the distinctive property of a complex sound (a voice or noise or musical sound)

n (physics) the characteristic of quarks that determines their role in the strong interaction

Type of:
form, kind, sort, variety
a category of things distinguished by some common characteristic or quality

n an outward or token appearance or form that is deliberately misleading

color, gloss, semblance
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color of law, colour of law
a mere semblance of legal right; something done with the apparent authority of law but actually in contravention of law
an insubstantial or vague semblance
face value
the apparent worth as opposed to the real worth
guise, pretence, pretense, pretext
an artful or simulated semblance
camouflage, disguise
an outward semblance that misrepresents the true nature of something
the appearance of truth; the quality of seeming to be true
Type of:
appearance, visual aspect
outward or visible aspect of a person or thing

v give a deceptive explanation or excuse for

color, gloss
Type of:
apologise, apologize, excuse, justify, rationalise, rationalize
defend, explain, clear away, or make excuses for by reasoning

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