color

noun, often attributive
col·​or | \ ˈkə-lər How to pronounce color (audio) \
plural colors

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
c colors plural : clothing of a bright (see bright entry 1 sense 4) color : clothing that is neither dark nor light in color Wash your colors separately from your darks and lights.
2 : something used to give color : pigment
3a : two or more hues employed in a medium of presentation movies in color
b : the use or combination of colors
4 : skin pigmentation other than and especially darker than what is considered characteristic of people typically defined as white (see white entry 1 sense 2a) The charges … allege that the social network discriminates based on color— Shawn Knight often used with of … the policy of treating youthful offenders as adults falls most heavily on those of color.— Kristin Choo — see also man of color, person of color, woman of color
5 : 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
6a : 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
7a : character, nature usually used in plural showed himself in his true colors
b 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
8a : 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
9 : vitality, interest The play had a good deal of color to it.
10 : 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
11a : 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
12 colors plural
a : a naval or nautical salute to a flag being hoisted or lowered
13 : the quality of timbre in music the color and richness of the cello
14 : a small particle of gold in a gold miner's pan after washing
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 : influence "The lives of most of us have been colored by politics … "— Christine Weston
b : misrepresent, distort a highly colored version of the facts
c : gloss, excuse color a lie
3 : characterize, label … call it progress; color it inevitable with shades of job security— C. E. Price

intransitive verb

1 : 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
2 : to take on color specifically : blush She colored at the mention of his name.

Other Words from color

Verb

colorer \ ˈkə-​lər-​ər How to pronounce color (audio) \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for color

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Verb

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 Glemaud underscored the need to create more employment opportunities for people of color. ELLE, 14 May 2022 Like many trans women of color, her childhood was rife with trauma, displacement, and violence. Michaela Angela Davis, Allure, 14 May 2022 The measure, advocates said, takes into account that steep deductibles and copayments make reproductive care unaffordable for many patients, particularly people of color. Laura Crimaldi, BostonGlobe.com, 14 May 2022 Not surprisingly, the effect of the court’s rulings will fall heavily on Latinos and other people of color. Laura Blasey, Los Angeles Times, 13 May 2022 This acrylic one by Edie Parker goes with just about everything and will add a pop of color to your overall look. The Editors, Town & Country, 13 May 2022 Add a pop of color to your deck with a lime green dining set, multicolor hammock, or appropriately cutesy pink portable fire pit, all of which are available on Amazon now. Sara Coughlin, SELF, 13 May 2022 That is a huge opportunity to build will and engagement around winning policies to protect our rights and improve all of our lives, including those of low income and communities of color. Maya Wiley, The New Republic, 13 May 2022 This expertise lives in the bodies of women of color throughout America. Angela Garbes, The Atlantic, 13 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb However, Ripa was prepared for the long flight with projects — like popsicle sticks to color with magic markers — and toys to keep her little ones occupied. Rachel Chang, Travel + Leisure, 5 May 2022 As long as Jenkins maintains orthodoxy on key points such as these, the show’s fan base seems likely to give him leeway to color around the margins of his Bible. Chris Deville, The Atlantic, 27 June 2021 They have been used to color food, textiles and cosmetics for centuries. Brittany J. Miller, Smithsonian Magazine, 29 Mar. 2022 None of this should be surprising, considering punishment, especially against Black folk who fail to color in between the lines, is a national pastime. Peniel E. Joseph, CNN, 28 Mar. 2022 How’s that going to color Putin’s thinking and his choices? Isaac Chotiner, The New Yorker, 11 Mar. 2022 Assemble this printable Father's Day card before letting your little ones color the front and inside. Mariah Thomas, Good Housekeeping, 19 Apr. 2022 More prosaic memories may color perceptions of Russia, said Karl Schlögel, a German historian of Eastern Europe. Washington Post, 15 Apr. 2022 But the pigment continued to color food, drugs and cosmetics to enhance their appearances. Brittany J. Miller, Smithsonian Magazine, 29 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

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

Buying Guide

Play with color with paint by number kits for adults selected by our Reviews team.

Learn More About color

Time Traveler for color

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near color

coloquintida

color

colorability

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for color

Last Updated

17 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Color.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/color. Accessed 18 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for color

color

noun
col·​or | \ ˈkə-lər How to pronounce color (audio) \

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 pigmentation especially other than white people 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 How to pronounce color (audio) \

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

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

More from Merriam-Webster on color

Nglish: Translation of color for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of color for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about color

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Name That Food

  • a-light
  • Name these cookies!
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

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!