color

noun, often attributive
col·​or | \ ˈkə-lər \

Definition of color

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a phenomenon of light (such as red, brown, pink, or gray) or visual perception that enables one to differentiate otherwise identical objects
b(1) : the aspect of the appearance of objects and light sources that may be described in terms of hue, lightness, and saturation (see saturation sense 4) for objects and hue, brightness, and saturation for light sources the changing color of the sky also : a specific combination of hue, saturation, and lightness or brightness comes in six colors
(2) : a color other than and as contrasted with black, white, or gray
2a : an outward often deceptive show : appearance His story has the color of truth.
b : a legal claim to or appearance of a right, authority, or office
c : a pretense offered as justification : pretext the color for his action
d : an appearance of authenticity : plausibility lending color to this notion
3 : complexion tint:
a : the tint characteristic of good health … sat looking at her with wistful eyes, trying to see signs of hope in the faint color on Beth's cheeks.— Louisa May Alcott
b : blush
4a : vividness or variety of effects of language … that color and force of style which were later to make him outstanding among American editors …— Arthur Krock
5a : an identifying badge, pennant, or flag usually used in plural a ship sailing under Swedish colors
b : colored clothing distinguishing one as a member of a particular group or representative of a particular person or thing usually used in plural a jockey wearing the colors of the stablewore his college colors to the game
6a colors plural : position as to a question or course of action : stand … the USSR changed neither its colors nor its stripes during all of this …— Norman Mailer
b : character, nature usually used in plural showed himself in his true colors
7a : the use or combination of colors
b : two or more hues employed in a medium of presentation movies in color

8 colors plural

a : a naval or nautical salute to a flag being hoisted or lowered
9 : vitality, interest The play had a good deal of color to it.
10 : something used to give color : pigment
11 : the quality of timbre in music the color and richness of the cello
12 : skin pigmentation especially other than white characteristic of race a person of color
13 : a small particle of gold in a gold miner's pan after washing
14 : analysis of game action or strategy, statistics and background information on participants, and often anecdotes provided by a sportscaster to give variety and interest to the broadcast of a game or contest a color commentator
15 : a hypothetical property of quarks that differentiates each type into three forms having a distinct role in binding quarks together

color

verb
colored; coloring; colors

Definition of color (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to give color to
b : to change the color of (as by dyeing, staining, or painting) She colors her hair.
2 : to change as if by dyeing or painting: such as
a : misrepresent, distort a highly colored version of the facts
b : gloss, excuse color a lie
c : influence "The lives of most of us have been colored by politics … "— Christine Weston
3 : characterize, label … call it progress; color it inevitable with shades of job security— C. E. Price

intransitive verb

1 : to take on color specifically : blush She colored at the mention of his name.
2 : to fill in a shape or picture outlined on a piece of paper using markers, crayons, colored pencils, etc. His granddaughter Fernanda sat at his side, coloring with crayons.— Charles Montgomery

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from color

Verb

colorer \ ˈkə-​lər-​ər \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for color

Synonyms: Noun

cast, hue, shade, tincture, tinge, tint, tone

Synonyms: Verb

bepaint [archaic], dye, paint, pigment, stain, tincture, tinge, tint

Antonyms: Verb

decolorize

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of color in a Sentence

Noun

The color of blood is red. What color are your eyes? What color paint shall we use? Blue and green are my favorite colors. The pillows are all different colors. The room needs more color. In early summer the garden is full of color. She added color to her outfit with a bright scarf. His eyes were bluish-green in color. She's using a new lip color.

Verb

We colored the water with red ink. The children were busy coloring in their coloring books. My nephew colored a picture for me. The child colored the sky blue and the sun yellow.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Pelosi, in a story photographed by his landlady (!), the lensmith Gabriela Herman, dished on his enduring love of color, cooking, hosting, and creating a retreat from the chaos of the world outside his front door. Asad Syrkett, Curbed, "Year in Curbed: The best of House Calls," 26 Dec. 2018 The show's 1950s world, composed of confectionary colors, a quick-witted heroine, and compulsively low stakes, does not seem like that of two brazen contemporary writers. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel," 9 Dec. 2018 The welcome party for the couple's guests is the first of many the bride-to-be will be dressing for, so expect loads of color, per Indian tradition, and some unexpected traditional Indian outfits for the groom, too. Carrie Goldberg, Harper's BAZAAR, "Everything You Need to Know About Priyanka Chopra's Wedding Dresses," 4 Dec. 2018 Boeing's pitch is an upgrade of a different color, based on the same game plan that convinced the Trump administration and the Navy to buy more FA-18 Super Hornets. Sean Gallagher, Ars Technica, "Hybrid theory: Lockheed Martin, Boeing pitch upgraded F-22, F-15," 26 Nov. 2018 Model Hailey Biebe wore the same color logo style from Balenciaga except as a sweatshirt. Alyssa Hardy, Teen Vogue, "Selena Gomez and Hailey Bieber Wore the Same Outfit and Both Looked Amazing," 4 Jan. 2019 In the past, Apple has also enabled iPhone owners to use their phone number as Apple ID as many people don’t frequently use email, and offered the iPhone in rose gold color. Yoko Kubota, WSJ, "Apple Loses Ground to China’s Homegrown Rivals," 3 Jan. 2019 Research scientists at Rise developed a composite wood without additives like paint or dye, which gives its bright white color. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "Sleek new speaker features recyclable wood cabinet," 27 Dec. 2018 This tradition has continued every year since, with the arrival of the first color broadcast in 1967. Katie Frost, Town & Country, "How the Queen's First Televised Christmas Broadcast Changed the Royal Family Forever," 25 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

On June 12 the lights along the seven bridges will be rainbow-colored to honor the victims of the 2016 PULSE nightclub shooting in Orlando. Craig Hlavaty, Houston Chronicle, "Meet the man who controls the colored lights over the Southwest Freeway bridges," 5 June 2018 Add vanilla or other flavoring (and gel food coloring if desired), and mix on medium speed for about 30 seconds. Alison Roman, The Seattle Times, "‘We are all connected by cookies’: A tribe with a bond stronger than royal icing," 12 Dec. 2018 Even for those of us who have been getting our hair cut and colored for decades, there's still so much confusion around tipping. Megan Mcintyre, Glamour, "What No One Tells You About Tipping at the Hair Salon," 12 Dec. 2018 Jasmin has box colored her hair black, red, and brown '7 or 8 times' and has coarse, straight, level 2 hair. Marci Robin, Allure, "This Super-Long Ombré Hair Transformation Is a Feat of Color-Correction Magic," 13 Nov. 2018 String your strands together—group similar lights (colored with colored, white with white) to keep things from looking too mismatched. Sienna Fantozzi, House Beautiful, "How To Hang Christmas Lights Without Going Insane," 10 Sep. 2018 Over the next few months, a group of orthopedic and rheumatology patients in New Zealand will get to test out the 3D colored X-rays in clinical trials. Laura Yan, Popular Mechanics, "See Bones, Blood and Tissue in World's First 3D Colored X-Ray," 14 July 2018 One photograph by geologist Wout Salenbien captures a South American rainforest, but the foliage is colored different shades of pink and red to highlight the more productive trees. Marissa Fessenden, Smithsonian, "Scientific Images Make Dazzling Art In a Duke University Exhibit," 12 July 2018 Her house is cream-colored and clean and is filled with her elegant finds. Liz Arnold, Longreads, "Making Peace with the Site of a Suicide," 11 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'color.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of color

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for color

Noun

Middle English colour, borrowed from Anglo-French, going back to Latin color, earlier colōs "color as a physical phenomenon, pigment, complexion, appearance," probably, assuming an original meaning "covering, outermost layer, appearance," going back to *ḱel-ōs, collective derivative from an Indo-European s-stem *ḱel-os "covering" (whence perhaps Sanskrit śaras- "skin on boiled milk, cream" and, from a thematic derivative, Old High German hulisa "hull of a legume"), derivative of a verbal base *ḱel- "cover, conceal" — more at conceal

Verb

Middle English colouren, borrowed from Anglo-French colurer, going back to Latin colōrāre, derivative of color color entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about color

Statistics for color

Last Updated

21 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for color

The first known use of color was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for color

color

noun

English Language Learners Definition of color

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a quality such as red, blue, green, yellow, etc., that you see when you look at something

: something used to give color to something : a pigment or dye

: the use or combination of colors

color

verb

English Language Learners Definition of color (Entry 2 of 2)

: to give color to (something) : to change the color of (something)

: to draw with crayons, markers, colored pencils, etc. : to fill in a shape or picture using markers, crayons, colored pencils, etc.

: to change (someone's ideas, opinion, attitude, etc.) in some way

color

noun
col·​or | \ ˈkə-lər \

Kids Definition of color

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the appearance of a thing apart from size and shape when light strikes it Red is the color of blood.
2 : skin tone as a mark of race You cannot discriminate on the basis of color.
3 : the rosy tint of a light-skinned person's face They still looked thin and tired, but color had returned to their cheeks.— Mary Pope Osborne, Christmas in Camelot
4 : blush entry 2 sense 1 Her embarrassment showed in the color rising in her face.
5 colors plural : an identifying flag
6 : interest entry 1 sense 2 Details added color to his story.

color

verb
colored; coloring

Kids Definition of color (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to give color to
2 : to change the color of She colored her hair.
3 : to fill in the outlines of a shape or picture with color
4 : to take on or change color : blush He colored in anger.
5 : influence entry 2 I won't let these rumors color my opinion.

color

noun
col·​or
variants: or chiefly British colour \ ˈkəl-​ər \

Medical Definition of color

1a : a phenomenon of light (as red, brown, pink, or gray) or visual perception that enables one to differentiate otherwise identical objects
b : the aspect of objects and light sources that may be described in terms of hue, lightness, and saturation for objects and hue, brightness, and saturation for light sources
c : a hue as contrasted with black, white, or gray
2 : complexion tint especially : the tint characteristic of good health

Other Words from color

color or chiefly British colour adjective

Keep scrolling for more

color

noun
col·​or

Legal Definition of color

: a legal claim to or appearance of a right or authority threats that gave color to an act of self-defense usually used in the phrase under color of a police officer held liable for violating the plaintiff's civil rights under color of state law a second “search” under color of warrant— W. R. LaFave and J. H. Israel

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on color

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with color

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for color

Spanish Central: Translation of color

Nglish: Translation of color for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of color for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about color

Comments on color

What made you want to look up color? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to gather or build up little by little

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three-bears-two-of-them-look-like-theyre-whispering-to-a-third-bear-who-looks-chuffed-to-be-the-center-of-attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!