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.

Definitions of colour
  1. noun
    a visual attribute of things that results from the light they emit or transmit or reflect
    synonyms: color, coloring, colouring
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    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
  2. noun
    the appearance of objects (or light sources) described in terms of a person's perception of their hue and lightness (or brightness) and saturation
    synonyms: color
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    type of:
    appearance, visual aspect
    outward or visible aspect of a person or thing
  3. noun
    any material used for its color
    synonyms: 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 substance 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
  4. verb
    decorate with colors
    synonyms: color, emblazon
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    paint with red lead or vermilion
    type of:
    adorn, beautify, decorate, embellish, grace, ornament
    make more attractive by adding ornament, colour, etc.
  5. verb
    add color to
    synonyms: color, color in, colorise, colorize, colour in, colourise, colourize
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    discolor, discolour
    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
    vermilion, vermillion
    to color a vivid red to reddish-orange color
    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
  6. verb
    change color, often in an undesired manner
    synonyms: 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
  7. adjective
    having or capable of producing colors
    synonyms: color
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    black and white, black-and-white
    not having or not capable of producing colors
  8. noun
    a race with skin pigmentation different from the white race (especially Blacks)
    synonyms: color, people of color, people of colour
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    type of:
    people who are believed to belong to the same genetic stock
  9. noun
    interest and variety and intensity
    synonyms: color, vividness
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    type of:
    interest, interestingness
    the power of attracting or holding one's attention (because it is unusual or exciting etc.)
  10. verb
    modify or bias
    synonyms: color
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    type of:
    act upon, influence, work
    have and exert influence or effect
  11. verb
    affect as in thought or feeling
    synonyms: color, distort, tinge
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    type of:
    affect, bear on, bear upon, impact, touch, touch on
    have an effect upon
  12. noun
    the timbre of a musical sound
    synonyms: color, coloration, colouration
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    type of:
    quality, timber, timbre, tone
    (music) the distinctive property of a complex sound (a voice or noise or musical sound)
  13. noun
    (physics) the characteristic of quarks that determines their role in the strong interaction
    synonyms: color
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    type of:
    form, kind, sort, variety
    a category of things distinguished by some common characteristic or quality
  14. noun
    an outward or token appearance or form that is deliberately misleading
    synonyms: color, gloss, semblance, veneer
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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
  15. verb
    give a deceptive explanation or excuse for
    synonyms: color, gloss
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    type of:
    apologise, apologize, excuse, justify, rationalise, rationalize
    defend, explain, clear away, or make excuses for by reasoning
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