purple passage


: a passage conspicuous for brilliance or effectiveness in a work that is dull, commonplace, or uninspired
chiefly British : a piece of obtrusively ornate writing

called also purple patch

Word History


translation of Latin pannus purpureus purple patch; from the traditional splendor of purple cloth as contrasted with plainer materials

First Known Use

1882, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of purple passage was in 1882

Dictionary Entries Near purple passage

Cite this Entry

“Purple passage.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/purple%20passage. Accessed 10 Dec. 2023.

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