Tyrian purple


Tyr·​i·​an purple ˈtir-ē-ən- How to pronounce Tyrian purple (audio)
: a crimson or purple dye that is related to indigo, was obtained by the ancient Greeks and Romans from gastropod mollusks, and is now made synthetically

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web The city of Tyre flourished for much of the first millennium B.C., thanks in part to the lucrative trade in Tyrian purple. Mark Woolmer, National Geographic, 24 Sep. 2020

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'Tyrian purple.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Tyre, maritime city of ancient Phoenicia

First Known Use

circa 1586, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of Tyrian purple was circa 1586

Dictionary Entries Near Tyrian purple

Cite this Entry

“Tyrian purple.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Tyrian%20purple. Accessed 4 Jun. 2023.

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