pig·​ment | \ˈpig-mənt \

Definition of pigment 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a substance that imparts black or white or a color to other materials especially : a powdered substance that is mixed with a liquid in which it is relatively insoluble and used especially to impart color to coating materials (such as paints) or to inks, plastics, and rubber

2 : a coloring matter in animals and plants especially in a cell or tissue also : any of various related colorless substances


pig·​ment | \ˈpig-ˌment, -mənt\
pigmented; pigmenting; pigments

Definition of pigment (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to color with or as if with pigment

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Other Words from pigment


pigmentary \ˈpig-​mən-​ˌter-​ē \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for pigment

Synonyms: Noun

color, colorant, coloring, dye, dyestuff, stain

Synonyms: Verb

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

Antonyms: Verb


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Examples of pigment in a Sentence


Chlorophyll is a group of green pigments. Melanin is a pigment that gives color to skin and fur. Albinos lack normal skin pigment. Pigments are used to give color to paint, ink, and plastic. Red pigment is mixed into the ink.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Johns applies oil to objects, rubs them on paper and then adds pigment to fix the oily impressions. Lance Esplund, WSJ, "‘The Condition of Being Here: Drawings by Jasper Johns’ Review: Willfully Obtuse," 12 Nov. 2018 The line offers 55 pigments, with each gallon of wall paint or trim paint costing $49. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "New startup Clare wants to make buying paint a breeze," 31 July 2018 Alternate use: Target areas around the eye, such as the inner and outer corners, when applying intense pigment. 10. Angled Eyeliner Brush This brush easily lines lashes with cream or gel liner or shadow. Brooke Shunatona, Cosmopolitan, "12 Makeup Brushes You Actually Need and Exactly How to Use Them," 8 Feb. 2018 Trick of the trade: To make a face appear younger, Jacob mixes a tiny drop of pearlescent pigment into foundation for a dewy, glowing finish. Jamie Rosen, Town & Country, "Prep Squad: Bridal Hair & Makeup," 20 Nov. 2013 Roux used natural pigments and the techniques of the 16th century, but added whimsy. Melissa Biggs Bradley, House Beautiful, "William Christie on Reviving a 16th-Century French Estate," 1 Sep. 2013 Sounds great, but the treatment is so experimental that pigment isn't yet formulated in the United States. Leah Prinzivalli, Allure, "What Is Semi-Permanent BB Cream, and Why Are People Getting It Microneedled Into Their Faces?," 9 Nov. 2018 While the pigments are subject to premarket approval under the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, the FDA has never exercised this authority. Jo Craven Mcginty, WSJ, "Tattoo Industry Wins Over Millennials," 31 Aug. 2018 On the wall-to-wall shelves are books for inspiration and giant glass vats full of colorful powder makeup pigments. Jenna Rosenstein, Harper's BAZAAR, "Go Inside Makeup Artist Violette's Beauty Stash," 18 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Both shades have the same concentrated pigmented formula as the Cloud Paints of yore. Sable Yong, Allure, "Glossier's New Cloud Paint Shades — Storm and Dawn — Make My Golden Skin Look Flushed With Glory," 12 June 2018 Each one has eight shadows and an included highlighter that are silky, pigmented, and buildable. Jenna Rosenstein, Harper's BAZAAR, "You Can Shop The MAC Basic Bitch Palette Right Now," 3 Aug. 2017 According to the brand's website, Lash Liner fixes that problem with a hybrid fluid-gel formula that's designed to stay pigmented from morning until night. Leah Prinzivalli, Allure, "Kat Von D Is Adding Three New Formulas to Her Trooper Tattoo Liner Range," 10 July 2018 It's pigmented, beautifully blendable, and perfected my skin in a way that no other concealer had before it. Tynan Sinks, Allure, "I Tried ColourPop's No Filter Foundation, and It Lasted Through an Entire Night Out," 27 June 2018 Are your eyeshadows pigmented enough to show up on my skin tone? Jackie Aina, Glamour, "Jackie Aina Is Changing the Beauty Industry, One Product at a Time," 26 June 2018 Kedzie intended the book as a warning to those tempted to purchase the wallpaper, which was more richly and subtly pigmented than earlier designs. Erin Blakemore, Washington Post, "The strange history of poisonous wallpaper and a dangerous book," 19 May 2018 The powder pigments across the entire line are next-level: pigmented, soft, blendable, and long-wearing. Harper's Bazaar Staff, Harper's BAZAAR, "We Tested All 70 Jennifer Lopez for Inglot Makeup Products," 25 Apr. 2018 Formula: The formula is heavily pigmented so that two coats was almost too much, bordering on clumpy. Jessica Teich, USA TODAY, "I tried everyone's favorite mascaras—and the winner was obvious," 27 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pigment.' 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 pigment


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1896, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for pigment


Middle English, spice, dye, from Latin pigmentum coloring substance, from pingere to paint — more at paint

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Learn More about pigment

Statistics for pigment

Last Updated

7 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for pigment

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

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More Definitions for pigment



English Language Learners Definition of pigment

: a natural substance that gives color to animals and plants

: a substance that gives color to something else


pig·​ment | \ˈpig-mənt \

Kids Definition of pigment

1 : a substance that gives color to other materials Red pigment is mixed into the ink.

2 : natural coloring matter in animals and plants


pig·​ment | \ˈpig-mənt \

Medical Definition of pigment 

: a coloring matter in animals and plants especially in a cell or tissue also : any of various related colorless substances

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