purple

adjective
pur·​ple | \ ˈpər-pəl How to pronounce purple (audio) \
purpler\ ˈpər-​p(ə-​)lər How to pronounce purpler (audio) \; purplest\ ˈpər-​p(ə-​)ləst How to pronounce purplest (audio) \

Definition of purple

 (Entry 1 of 3)

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
2a : 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

noun

Definition of purple (Entry 2 of 3)

1a(1) : cloth dyed purple
(2) : a garment of such color especially : a purple robe worn as an emblem of rank or authority
b(1) : tyrian purple
(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
2a : imperial or regal rank or power
b : high rank or station

purple

verb
purpled; purpling\ ˈpər-​p(ə-​)liŋ How to pronounce purpling (audio) \

Definition of purple (Entry 3 of 3)

transitive verb

: to make purple

intransitive verb

: to become purple

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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

Tapping into the snowy backdrop, the collection then veered into après ski, done Chanel style. In-between, a range of bright looks added some major color to the runway in the form of hot pink, turquoise, orange red, and purple. Lauren Alexis Fisher, Harper's BAZAAR, "Chanel Pays Tribute to Karl Lagerfeld on a Snow-Covered Runway," 5 Mar. 2019 Meghan started her 2019 in clashing red and purple shades, while Kate has so far stepped out in vibrant fuchsia, and a bold red party dress. Lucy Wood, Marie Claire, "Kate Middleton Took on the Neon Trend For Her Latest Royal Appearance in London," 5 Feb. 2019 Tonight, under 1970s-chic red and purple neon, Family Karaoke is filled with enough attendees to worry a fire marshal. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "Want to Be A Hacker? Go to Dallas.," 4 Dec. 2018 Gorgeous bouquets of yellow, purple, pink, and blue floral arrangements alongside a convertible crib were dropped off at Meghan's hotel ahead of the soirée. Nicole Saunders, Harper's BAZAAR, "Meghan Markle Is Reportedly Having a Second Baby Shower," 20 Feb. 2019 Richard made the superhero symbol the focal point of her purple apron, wrapping it around a custom Gucci mesh bodysuit. Rachel Hahn, Vogue, "Dawn Richard Captures the Mardi Gras Indians of New Orleans in All Their Glory," 13 Mar. 2019 The formula is packed with purple rice bran, which does way more than lend the contents a charming lilac hue. Glamour, "This Moisturizer Instantly Gives Me Dewy Dumpling Skin," 11 Mar. 2019 Set up a few vases around your home for a purple punch of color inspired by this holy time frame. Madison Alcedo, Country Living, "The Real Meaning Behind the Colors of Easter," 8 Mar. 2019 Wendy was excited to return to her purple chair on Monday, January 7, even doing a countdown for her viewers. Selena Barrientos, Good Housekeeping, "Here's the Tea About Wendy Williams' Return to 'The Wendy Williams Show'," 4 Mar. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Hairstylist Nai'vasha Johnson followed suit by adding touches of purple and gold throughout the actress's locs. Sophia Panych, Allure, "The Best Celebrity Beauty Looks of the Week," 3 Aug. 2018 Kate Middleton opted for an elegant purple Gucci blouse and Jigsaw wide-leg trousers for a visit to Henry Fawcett Children’s Centre today. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Kate Middleton Looks Incredibly Chic in a Gucci Blouse and Pants," 12 Mar. 2019 Blues and purples are notoriously difficult to create. Kevin Davenport, idahostatesman, "O say can you see? The science behind the booms and blooms of Independence Day fireworks," 3 July 2018 According to Woelfel, upcoming trends to look out for are cool shades of green, rustic orange tones, saturated yellow hues, smokey blues, and dusty lilac purples. Meghan Overdeep, Southern Living, "Experts Say These Are the Most Popular Paint Colors Right Now," 28 June 2018 Join millions of participants by wearing purple on International Women’s Day. Selena Barrientos, Good Housekeeping, "Why International Women's Day Is Celebrated on March 8," 28 Feb. 2019 Few had written about the sea the way Forster did: thick, impenetrable fogs; giant waves, whipped into spirals by punishing winds; fields of ice suffused with purple as darkness fell; columns of white light illuminating the sky at night. Christoph Irmscher, WSJ, "‘Georg Forster’ Review: In Search of Earthly Paradise," 22 Feb. 2019 Washington State University and the University of Washington have launched a joint $100,000 ad campaign that blends Cougar crimson with Husky purple. Katherine Long, The Seattle Times, "Just before the Apple Cup, UW and WSU are teaming up with a pro-college message," 21 Nov. 2018 The siblings all wore different but coordinated long dresses in similar shades of burgundy and purple. Chrissy Rutherford, Harper's BAZAAR, "Karlie Kloss Shares More Photos From Private Wedding to Josh Kushner," 26 Oct. 2018

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

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

History and Etymology for purple

Adjective

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

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Learn More about purple

Statistics for purple

Last Updated

14 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for purple

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

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More Definitions for purple

purple

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of purple

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: of the color purple
disapproving : using many fancy words

purple

noun

English Language Learners Definition of purple (Entry 2 of 2)

: a color that is between red and blue

purple

noun
pur·​ple | \ ˈpər-pəl How to pronounce purple (audio) \

Kids Definition of purple

: a color between red and blue

purple

adjective
pur·​ple | \ ˈpər-pəl How to pronounce purple (audio) \
purpler\ -​p(ə-​)lər How to pronounce purpler (audio) \; purplest\ -​p(ə-​)ləst How to pronounce purplest (audio) \

Medical Definition of purple

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: of the color purple

purple

noun

Medical Definition of purple (Entry 2 of 2)

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on purple

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for purple

Spanish Central: Translation of purple

Nglish: Translation of purple for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of purple for Arabic Speakers

Comments on purple

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