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

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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 After playing with color in a head-to-toe baby pink suit, the Duchess of Cambridge channeled classic royal style for an appearance with Prince William at the Royal Ascot today. Erica Gonzales, ELLE, 18 June 2022 And there are the games with color, the white fabrics that are never white, yet seem to blaze with the preternatural whiteness of sheets bleached and dried in the southern sun. Philip Kennicott, Washington Post, 15 June 2022 Despite its name, a strawberry moon is not red or pink in color. Wyatte Grantham-philips, USA TODAY, 15 June 2022 Meditation, journaling, drawing, writing poetry and fiction, taking a walk, or even experimenting with a little more color than you're used to. Emily Newhouse, Allure, 13 June 2022 Fill your suitcases and beach bags with color this summer by adding a few neon swimsuits to your collection. Melissa Epifano, PEOPLE.com, 13 June 2022 The textured visuals are often breathtaking, pulsing with luminous color, and the detailed character work is delightful, matched by strong contributions from the voice actors. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, 13 June 2022 Diversity in light helped create diversity in vision, in color, and in species. Ed Yong, The Atlantic, 13 June 2022 Webb’s images will be presented in color despite it observing primarily in the infrared range of the electromagnetic spectrum. Jamie Carter, Forbes, 11 June 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Early fatherhood, when portrayed in literature, is often similarly practical: serving to color the characters, plot, and themes, but rarely warranting a sustained look. Oliver Munday, The Atlantic, 17 June 2022 Nadieszda said the dyeing eggs also dates back to the ancient Middle East when people used onion skins to color them. Jordan Mendoza, USA TODAY, 14 Apr. 2022 Team leaders are often driven by personal agendas which may color their opinions about remote work, observed Okta’s Fisher. Lila Maclellan, Quartz, 20 May 2022 Two outdoor lounge chairs there are covered in stylish removable covers—a comfortable perch for a budding artist who may color outside the lines, from parents with an eye for design details that will withstand the test of time. Kristin Scharkey, Sunset Magazine, 6 May 2022 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 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.

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Time Traveler for color

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near color

coloquintida

color

colorability

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Statistics for color

Last Updated

22 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Color.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/color. Accessed 28 Jun. 2022.

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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

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