Something's color is its pigment. Technically, all living things have a natural pigment — leaves have a green pigment for example — but the word is more generally applied to human skin color.

The other, more technical, use of pigment refers to the substance, usually a powder, that is added to a liquid to give it its color. For example, ultramarine paint is made from a crushed blue silicate that mixed with oil produces a brilliant blue tone. Other pigments were achieved in less pleasant ways. The bright yellow of many Indian paintings? Cow's urine. The red of medieval ox-blood walls? You guessed it.

Definitions of pigment

n dry coloring material (especially a powder to be mixed with a liquid to produce paint, etc.)

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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
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
animal pigment
pigment occurring in animals
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
alizarin, alizarine
an orange-red crystalline compound used in making red pigments and in dyeing
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
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
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
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
chlorophyll a
a blue-black plant pigment having a blue-green alcohol solution; found in all higher plants
chlorophyll b
a dark-green plant pigment having a brilliant green alcohol solution; generally characteristic of higher plants
chlorofucin, chlorophyll c
the chlorophyll present in brown algae, diatoms, and flagellates
chlorophyll d
the chlorophyll found (together with chlorophyll a) in red algae
yellow or orange-red fat-soluble pigments in plants
carotenoid that makes tomatoes red; may lower the risk of prostate cancer
an isomer of carotene that is found in dark green and dark yellow fruits and vegetables
lutein, xanthophyl, xanthophyll
yellow carotenoid pigments in plants and animal fats and egg yolks
yellow carotenoid (isomeric with lutein and occurs widely with it) that is the main pigment in yellow Indian corn
bilirubin, haematoidin, hematoidin
an orange-yellow pigment in the bile that forms as a product of hemoglobin; excess amounts in the blood produce the yellow appearance observed in jaundice
brown bile pigment formed from urobilinogens and found in feces and in small amounts in urine
pigment occurring in luminescent organisms (as fireflies); emits heatless light when undergoing oxidation
insoluble pigments that account for the color of e.g. skin and scales and feathers
Windsor green
a light chrome green pigment
an earth color containing ferric oxides; used as a pigment
ocher, ochre
any of various earths containing silica and alumina and ferric oxide; used as a pigment
alizarin carmine, alizarin crimson, alizarin red
any of various acid dyes; used for dyeing wool scarlet red
French blue, French ultramarine, French ultramarine blue
ultramarine pigment prepared artificially
an earth pigment
a violet photopigment in the retinal cones of the eyes of most vertebrates; plays a role in daylight vision
retinal purple, rhodopsin, visual purple
a red photopigment in the retinal rods of vertebrates; dissociates into retinene by light
cadmium yellow pale
pale-hued cadmium yellow pigment
cadmium orange
orange-hued cadmium yellow pigment
Type of:
color, coloring material, colour, colouring material
any material used for its color

n 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

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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
a water-base paint containing zinc oxide and glue and coloring; used as a wash for walls and ceilings
casein, casein paint
a water-base paint made with a protein precipitated from milk
finish coat, finishing coat
the final coat of paint
flat coat, ground, primer, primer coat, priming, priming coat, undercoat
the first or preliminary coat of paint or size applied to a surface
latex, latex paint, rubber-base paint
a water-base paint that has a latex binder
oil, oil color, oil colour
oil paint containing pigment that is used by an artist
poster color, poster colour, poster paint, tempera
pigment mixed with water-soluble glutinous materials such as size and egg yolk
a thin coat of water-base paint
water-color, water-colour, watercolor, watercolour
a water-base paint (with water-soluble pigments); used by artists
Type of:
coat, coating
a thin layer covering something
color, coloring material, colour, colouring material
any material used for its color

n any substance whose presence in plant or animal tissues produces a characteristic color

Type of:
color, coloring material, colour, colouring material
any material used for its color

v color or dye with a pigment

pigment a photograph”
Type of:
color, color in, colorise, colorize, colour, colour in, colourise, colourize
add color to

v acquire pigment; become colored or imbued

Type of:
take on color or become colored

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