col·​or·​ful | \ ˈkə-lər-fəl \

Definition of colorful

1 : having striking colors colorful scenery
2a : full of variety or interest a colorful description
b of speech : rude, offensive … he had begun to gamble and use colorful language …— Yohannes Edemariam

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Other Words from colorful

colorfully \ ˈkə-​lər-​f(ə-​)lē \ adverb
colorfulness \ ˈkə-​lər-​fəl-​nəs \ noun

Examples of colorful in a Sentence

I wore a colorful outfit. He gave a colorful account of his travels.

Recent Examples on the Web

The campaign, shot by Cepis, shows Brosnahan in bold, playful, and colorful looks, emulating Spade's whimsical and chic personal style, while sporting bags, shoes, and jewelry from the Frances Valentine Spring 2019 collection. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Rachel Brosnahan, Kate Spade's Niece, Stars in a New Campaign Honoring the Late Designer," 30 Jan. 2019 The trove has a colorful history, having been obtained in a hotel-room raid on a visiting businessman that may or may not have been coordinated by a crusading anti-Facebook journalist, who has stubbornly refused to comment on the matter. Casey Newton, The Verge, "Facebook’s morale problem is getting worse," 6 Dec. 2018 The youngest son of Prince Charles and Princess Diana has had an, um, colorful history to say the least. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Prince Harry Has Become "More Aloof" Since Marrying Meghan Markle, According to This Royal Photographer," 29 Sep. 2018 The once-thriving railway town’s historic district (Colorado’s largest) now houses boutique shops selling handcrafted guitars, high-end bicycles and art aplenty, including the colorful reverse glass paintings of Art & Salvage. Laura Kiniry, Smithsonian, "The 20 Best Small Towns To Visit in 2018," 5 June 2018 That long, uneven, colorful history feels new when it's examined this way, through its defeats instead of its victories. Steve Donoghue, The Christian Science Monitor, "'Rome' tells the story of the Eternal City through seven moments of defeat," 1 June 2018 His latest, Ruthless Tide: The Heroes and Villains of the Johnstown Flood (William Morrow), is a colorful history of the deadliest flood in U.S. history. Jocelyn Mcclurg, USA TODAY, "#BookmarkThis: Al Roker dishes on royal wedding, 'Today' show changes, new book," 22 May 2018 The exhibit at the Red Skelton Museum of American Comedy showcases colorful paintings Skelton painted after visits to Japan and European nations. Post-Tribune, "State briefs," 21 May 2018 Kids will love the soft feel and colorful design while parents will appreciate the organic cotton fabric. Jessica Leigh Mattern, Country Living, "Copy Joanna Gaines and Get Baby Crew's Christmas Pajamas for Your Whole Family," 1 Dec. 2018

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

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First Known Use of colorful

1848, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for colorful

color entry 1 + -ful entry 1

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Statistics for colorful

Last Updated

16 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for colorful

The first known use of colorful was in 1848

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More Definitions for colorful



English Language Learners Definition of colorful

: having a bright color or a lot of different colors : full of color
: interesting or exciting


col·​or·​ful | \ ˈkə-lər-fəl \

Kids Definition of colorful

1 : having bright colors
2 : full of variety or interest She is a colorful person.

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More from Merriam-Webster on colorful

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for colorful

Spanish Central: Translation of colorful

Nglish: Translation of colorful for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of colorful for Arabic Speakers

Comments on colorful

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


a servile follower or underling

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