purple

1 of 3

adjective

pur·​ple ˈpər-pəl How to pronounce purple (audio)
1
: having a color between red and blue : of the color purple
a purple flower
purple fabric
… can only have left his antagonists purple with frustration.Joseph Epstein
2
a
: ornately and showily phrased or expressed
… the writing often descends into the purple prose of a besotted fan.Stephen Holden
… Rice is a first-rate writer. There are no purple patches in this narrative, and no attempts to sermonize.Lawrence S. Cunningham
b
: marked by profanity
His language in public is so purple they had to stop broadcasting the meetings of the city council.Newsweek
3
US politics : having roughly equal levels of support for Democratic and Republican candidates or policies
… a blue candidate trying to swipe a red seat in a purple state.Don Rollins
… as the race pulled tighter than Paris Hilton's jeans, Kerry volunteers flooded the purple states to energize their voters—tens of thousands of them newly registered.Michelle Cottle
compare blue sense 9, red sense 5
4
dated : regal, imperial

purple

2 of 3

noun

1
a(1)
: cloth dyed purple
(2)
: a garment of such color
especially : a purple robe worn as an emblem of rank or authority
b(1)
(2)
: any of various colors that fall about midway between red and blue in hue
c(1)
: a mollusk (as of the genus Purpura) yielding a purple dye and especially the Tyrian purple of ancient times
(2)
: a pigment or dye that colors purple
2
a
: imperial or regal rank or power
b
: high rank or station

purple

3 of 3

verb

purpled; purpling ˈpər-p(ə-)liŋ How to pronounce purple (audio)

transitive verb

: to make purple

intransitive verb

: to become purple

Examples of purple in a Sentence

Adjective The book contains a few purple passages. Her writing was full of purple prose.
Recent Examples on the Web
Adjective
The outfit was accompanied by fishnets and purple platform heels. EW.com, 20 Feb. 2024 Liu, 34, first stepped onto the red carpet in a classic maroon Berluti suit paired with a pale purple button-down shirt, dark red shoes and a gold Fernando Jorge necklace and an IWC Portugieser Perpetual Calendar watch. Michelle Lee, Peoplemag, 19 Feb. 2024 The yellow group is usually the easiest to figure out, blue and green fall in the middle, and the purple group is typically the hardest one to deduce. Kris Holt, Forbes, 19 Feb. 2024 In 2022, Kodak was pulled over in his purple Dodge Durango by the Florida Highway Patrol. Grethel Aguila, Miami Herald, 16 Feb. 2024 Find it on Amazon This Purple Toothpaste Will Make Your Teeth Sparkle This purple toothpaste is going to brighten your smile. Mia Meltzer, Rolling Stone, 16 Feb. 2024 There are more than 150 leaded glass windows throughout the home, some with a faint pink or purple tint, and original crystal light fixtures are stamped with the initials of Dorothy Phipps. Mark David, Robb Report, 14 Feb. 2024 Blooms vary in color from creamy white to dark pink and purple with spotted throats. Southern Living Editors, Southern Living, 14 Feb. 2024 The Usher Event Night Tee, for instance, shows off a multicolored helmet alongside a golden microphone and fireworks—and, of course, the Grammy winner’s name adorning the graphic in massive purple letters. Demetrius Simms, Robb Report, 8 Feb. 2024
Noun
Peak colors arrived about 10 to 15 minutes before official sunup near 7:07 a.m., but the kaleidoscope of yellows, oranges, reds, purples and blues went on for more than 30 minutes. Ian Livingston, Washington Post, 8 Feb. 2024 This means these hallowed halls of purple are festooned with games from BetSoft, Rival Gaming, Arrow’s Edge, Yggdrasil, Dragon Gaming, and Nucleus. Sponsored Content, The Mercury News, 1 Feb. 2024 In others, the red and purple will blend to make a slightly different color (altering your scent). Alex Robinson, Outdoor Life, 31 Jan. 2024 Inspiration came in the form of pigmented glitter eyeshadows, full-bodied ‘70s hairstyles, classic black tie moments, flashy eye makeup, and shades of purple. India Espy-Jones, Essence, 29 Jan. 2024 This year, the 2024 Super Bowl logo mixes purple and red — and both of those colors correspond with the teams still vying for a spot in the NFL Championship game. Natasha Dye, Peoplemag, 29 Jan. 2024 There are several varieties of this fruit, with skins in varying shades of green, red, yellow, and purple, each with slight variance in flavor. Zoe Denenberg, Bon Appétit, 12 Jan. 2024 Choose cushions for your outdoor furniture in dark colors like black or deep purple to match the rest of the palette. Christianna Silva, Better Homes & Gardens, 2 Jan. 2024 Philbin donned purple and black for Ardrey Kell as Schultz wore Providence High School’s gold and black. Julia Coin, Charlotte Observer, 26 Jan. 2024
Verb
After exiting the stage for a handful of minutes, escorted by panicked staff, Malone returned to finish his performance – purpled sternum and all. 5. Spin Contributor, SPIN, 8 Dec. 2023 Sloe berries, purpled and clustered on blackthorn, their crushed velvet skin midnight after a summer of green. Lottie Hazell, Vogue, 24 Dec. 2023 His eyes, blank and fierce, peered from under thick folds of heavy, purpled skin. Mary Gaitskill, The New Yorker, 20 Mar. 2023 Color indicates distance from Earth, ranging from yellow on the near side of the slice to purple on the far side. Jordan Rice, Discover Magazine, 15 July 2016 The upper layer appears red to green in color while the underlying layer appears cyan to purple in color. Discover Magazine, 26 Dec. 2012 As the sky turns from orange to pink to purple, the world is bathed in a peaceful tranquility. Andrew Marantz, The New Yorker, 13 Feb. 2023 This pick changes from gray to purple to green in different lighting. Jamie Wilson, Harper's BAZAAR, 28 Dec. 2022 Though President Joe Biden scored a comfortable win in this district over former President Donald Trump, the national head winds for Democrats in 2022 makes the area closer to purple than true blue. Dallas News, 16 May 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'purple.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Adjective

Middle English purpel, alteration of purper, from Old English purpuran of purple, genitive of purpure purple color, from Latin purpura, from Greek porphyra

First Known Use

Adjective

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

Time Traveler
The first known use of purple was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near purple

Cite this Entry

“Purple.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/purple. Accessed 23 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

purple

1 of 3 adjective
pur·​ple ˈpər-pəl How to pronounce purple (audio)
purpler -p(ə-)lər How to pronounce purple (audio) ; purplest -p(ə-)ləst How to pronounce purple (audio)
: of the color purple

purple

2 of 3 noun
: a color midway between red and blue

purple

3 of 3 verb
purpled; purpling ˈpər-p(ə-)liŋ How to pronounce purple (audio)
: to turn purple

Medical Definition

purple

1 of 2 adjective
pur·​ple ˈpər-pəl How to pronounce purple (audio)
purpler -p(ə-)lər How to pronounce purple (audio) ; purplest -p(ə-)ləst How to pronounce purple (audio)
: of the color purple

purple

2 of 2 noun
1
: any of various colors that fall about midway between red and blue in hue
2
: a pigment or dye that colors purple see visual purple

More from Merriam-Webster on purple

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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