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
  1. noun
    dry coloring material (especially a powder to be mixed with a liquid to produce paint, etc.)
    see moresee less
    show 62 types...
    hide 62 types...
    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
  2. noun
    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
    synonyms: paint
    see moresee less
    show 21 types...
    hide 21 types...
    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
  3. noun
    any substance whose presence in plant or animal tissues produces a characteristic color
    see moresee less
    type of:
    color, coloring material, colour, colouring material
    any material used for its color
  4. verb
    color or dye with a pigment
    pigment a photograph”
  5. verb
    acquire pigment; become colored or imbued
    see moresee less
    type of:
    take on color or become colored
Word Family
F1 image

Express yourself in 25 languages

  • Learn immersively - no memorization required
  • Build skills for real-world conversations
  • Get immediate feedback on your pronunciation
Get started for $7.99/month